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Columbia teen convicted of garage robbery*

Friday, September 18, 2009 | 8:54 p.m. CDT; updated 2:21 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 22, 2009

COLUMBIA — After more than three hours of deliberation, a jury recommended a 12-year sentence for a Columbia teen's involvement in a parking garage assault and robbery downtown in June.

Charles Williams III, 17, convicted Thursday of second-degree robbery, is the first of three men charged in the "Knock Out King" robbery, which was caught on the surveillance cameras. He faced a sentence of five to 15 years.

This was not the first time Williams had been in trouble with law. Prosecutor Richard Hicks pointed out the defendant's history of  "theft and violence" to the jury. In April 2009, Columbia police responded to a disturbance call in which Williams was accused of verbally threatening a woman.

"The level of his criminal activity keeps rising as he gets older," Hicks said in his closing argument. "Fifteen years will send the message to Williams that he needs to change."

Defense attorney Harry Williams (no relation) argued that his client was "thrown into a jungle, where you learn to survive or die." But it was not enough for a lenient sentence.

After sentencing, Williams shook his head and looked back into the gallery, where victim Adam Taylor and his family were seated. The jury sat solemnly while Judge Kevin Crane read the decision. Although he was pushing for the maximum sentence, Hicks said he was satisfied with the outcome.

The Taylor family expressed relief that the trial was over. "It’s going to be very hard to go through this again two more times," Karen Taylor, Adam Taylor's mother, said. "But we’re a strong family and we rely on each other." 

Adam Taylor believes the surveillance cameras played a large role in the conviction. His family is now fighting to get the City Council to reconsider funding the installation of security cameras downtown. Taylor said he wishes to "take this traumatic event and make something positive out of it."

For the final disposition, Crane said he can go below the recommended 12-year sentence but not above it. The disposition will take place at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 23.

The other two men charged, Lee Barney, 19, and Walter Jones, 18, will be tried separately. Hicks had no comment on their trials. 

Missourian reporters Mina Mineva and Gregg Johnson contributed to this report.


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr September 19, 2009 | 4:32 a.m.

He'll only do 80% of his time if that due to prison over crowding or if he gets time off for good behavior.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox September 19, 2009 | 8:47 a.m.

Long Serve the King!

(Report Comment)
Brenda O'Brien September 19, 2009 | 11:37 a.m.

Just 12 year for what seems to be a repeat offender is hard to swallow from our justice system. Why can we not go back to the medival times and make the punishment fit the crimes? Our prison systems would not be a vaction place for so many repeat offenders to live the live of luxury on tax payers money. I know this may seem cruel, but what about the VICTIMS and their lives??? Now I will step down off my soap box after giving everyone somethng to thing about. Would you have like to be their VICTIM?

(Report Comment)
Ro Sila September 19, 2009 | 2:12 p.m.

Brenda, This is very easy to figure out. Our lawmakers are all lawyers, not a cross-section of our population. VICTIMS do not hire lawyers in criminal trials. Does this mean greedy, unprincipaled lawyers/lawmakers are more interested in creating money-making opportunities for lawyers than in pursuing justice?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 19, 2009 | 2:51 p.m.

Well let's see here if we went back to the old ways of equal justice and an eye for an eye then this criminal would be getting the same kind of punishment that he dealt to his victim which is only to be knocked out which seems very unfair.

12 years might seem a short amount of time yes but if that 12 years was spent doing hard time doing hard labor now there would be real justice.

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jordan September 20, 2009 | 5:50 p.m.

Ro Sila said, "Our lawmakers are all lawyers, not a cross-section of our population."

Last time I checked, the Missouri General Assembly was about 15% lawyers. When did you see the extra 85% arrive? Or did you bother to check before posting?

And if anyone thinks 12 years is not enough, or that any other laws are unjust, they should get with elected officials and have some input into the system--commenting in the Missourian doesn't count.

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jordan September 20, 2009 | 5:52 p.m.

Brenda O'Brien said, "Our prison systems would not be a vaction place for so many repeat offenders to live the live of luxury on tax payers money."

If it's so luxurious, why aren't people trying to break in?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 21, 2009 | 4:27 a.m.

>>> Daniel Jordan: If it's so luxurious, why aren't people trying to break in? <<<

And how many of these street thug career criminals do not care one bit about going back? The reasons why are because they know they get their smokes,their meals,their homies are there,their drugs and some booty on the down low too just like on the street.

Bring back the chain gangs!!

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand September 21, 2009 | 8:49 a.m.

Agreed. Bring back the chain gangs.

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jordan September 21, 2009 | 9:32 p.m.

Charles Dudley Jr. said, "And how many of these street thug career criminals do not care one bit about going back? The reasons why are because they know they get their smokes,their meals,their homies are there,their drugs and some booty on the down low too just like on the street."

Then why do they resist being sent away?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 22, 2009 | 4:26 a.m.

>>> Daniel Jordan: Then why do they resist being sent away? <<<

Because it is part of the game man it is part of the game. Obviously you have no real street sense nor knowledge of just how the game is played.

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jordan Jordan September 22, 2009 | 9:29 p.m.

@ Charles "Streetwise" Dudley, Jr.:

Maybe you can share some of your street sense that you learned on the street and teach us how to be street smart with street sense. Streetwise. On the street.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 23, 2009 | 4:53 a.m.

Daniel Jordan Jordan if I posted those details here they would be removed due to the content would be far too shocking for this community to handle.

Tis true.

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jordan Jordan September 24, 2009 | 8:51 a.m.

And that's the word . . . on the street.

(Report Comment)

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