15 Year Sentence for James Booker’s Death

Anthony Williams was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday for second-degree murder while armed in connection with the shooting death of 24-year-old James Edward Booker.

Williams, who pleaded guilty to the charge in October, turned 18 last week.

He’s an adult now,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kendra Briggs told the court. “He’ll have to face his decision to take Mr. Booker’s life on November 5, 2013 … as an adult.”

Video footage of the murder showed Booker walking alone on 6th Street Southeast, according to the proffer of facts. Holding a gun in his right hand, Williams got in front of Booker and blocked his path. Williams shot Booker multiple times while he tried to run away.

Addressing the court in a victim impact statement, Kelly Booker talked about how her son had turned his life around. At 24, he had a newborn baby girl and plans to return back to school.

I just want to know why,” she asked Williams, weeping. “What happened, you know? The truth, because I wasn’t there.”

Williams addressed the court: “I apologize to the family, and I take responsibility for my actions.”

Interrupting, Kelly Booker told those in court, “I wanna forgive him.”

Turning to Williams, Booker told him, “I do forgive you for killing my child.”

Defense attorney Anthony Matthews argued that Williams understood the gravity of his actions, demonstrated by his acceptance of the plea agreement.

This young man is going to be locked up for nearly as long as he’s been on the earth,” Matthews said. “That’s a powerful message.”

After the sentencing concluded, Booker wept as she told AUSA Briggs, “I had to forgive him.”

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