At Sentencing, Khari Williams Asks Judge “To See Me as a Young Man Who Made Mistakes”

Judge John Ramsey Johnson sentenced Khari Natron Williams to 12 years in prison Friday for fatally shooting Angelo Alphonso Payne in Dec. 2012 because Williams believed Payne had stolen PCP from him, according to prosecutors.

Williams was 17 years old at the time of the shooting. He was arrested in Jan. 2013, and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in April.

Payne was found unconscious in the 3400 Block of Croffut Place Southeast suffering from a gunshot wound. He later died at a hospital.

I would like to own up to my mistakes,” said Williams to Judge Johnson during the sentencing. “I am asking you to see me as a young man who made mistakes, and not as the bad man they’ve made me out to be.”

Judge Johnson sentenced 19-year-old Williams under the Youth Rehabilitation Act meaning he was sentenced as a youth not as an adult, and has the opportunity to clear his conviction from his record after serving his sentence.

I think you have so much in you that has promise,” said Judge Johnson before delivering his sentence.

I just want you to know that since I’ve lost my son things have never been the same,” Payne’s mother Jewel Payne told Judge Johnson during the sentencing hearing Friday, “I can’t sleep I cant eat, he was my heart.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Bradford argued that Williams was selling PCP and carrying a loaded weapon at the time of the incident and asked Judge Johnson to sentence him as an adult.

What this defendant did was decide to play judge and jury, when he shot [Payne] twice; once in the back of the head,” said Bradford.

Bradford said that many people she spoke to during her investigation mentioned that Williams was a great football player and a good person.”It’s almost as if he was leading a double life,” said Bradford.

Defense attorney Ieshaah Murphy said Williams was not living a “double life,” and the incident was “unlike him.”

He saw selling drugs as a means of obtaining his financial needs,” said Murphy. “He carried a weapon to address the insecurity he faced in his neighborhood.

Murphy asked Judge Johnson to sentence Williams to the minimum of 90 months, arguing that Williams was 17 years old when he shot Payne, that he took responsibility by pleading guilty, and has shown remorse for his actions.

Outside the courtroom, she explained that Payne had a kind heart and would always make people laugh. She said she wished the judge had given Williams more time.

Fighting back tears, Payne’s mother held up a picture of her son and spoke about his aspirations.

He wanted to be a father someday and he wanted to buy me a house,” said Payne’s mother.

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