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Jury unable to decide robber’s sentence

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A Stafford County jury Thursday night was unable to agree on a sentence for a man involved in a home-invasion robbery last year in which two men were shot.

The jury found Keith Daniel Williams, 21, guilty in Stafford Circuit Court of armed burglary, two counts of robbery, two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, conspiracy and two firearms charges.

The jurors recommended the mandatory eight years total for the firearms charges and the maximum penalty of 10 years for the conspiracy.

But the jurors were unable to agree on the remaining charges, all of which carry potential life sentences.

Judge Charles Sharp will decide the total sentence at a June 26 hearing.

Williams is the second person convicted in connection with a Jan. 29, 2013, robbery at 3927 Jefferson Davis Highway.

The other, 26-year-old Clayton George Smith of Manassas, was the getaway driver for the group and got 93 years.

According to the evidence presented by prosecutors Kristin Bird and Michael Hardiman, three people were in the home when a group of masked gunmen forced their way in about 10 p.m.

None of the victims resisted, but two of them—Warren Jackson and Jeffrey Hilton—were shot multiple times anyway.

“There was no reason to shoot the victims,” Hardiman said in his closing argument. “These victims were cooperating.”

Hilton was shot in the leg and groin areas and lost a testicle. Jackson was shot in the buttocks and legs and said he has permanent nerve damage.

The robbers got away with about $1,000, according to the evidence.

The victims had no idea who the intruders were, but surveillance cameras in a nearby business parking lot showed four people leaving a car just prior to the robbery and returning to it right after it.

The license number led police to Smith.

A gun that was used in the shooting was later found in Williams’ possession in Prince William County.

Three other men were charged in the robbery, but those cases were dropped because of insufficient evidence.

Williams testified against those three at a preliminary hearing last year. But a judge said his testimony, which drew laughter from audience members, was unbelievable.

For example, when asked where he got the gun that was found when he was arrested in Prince William, Williams said he didn’t know and “it was like an everybody gun.”

Thursday, Williams again admitted he was with the robbers but said he stayed outside and ran when the shooting started.

He claimed he and the others had gone there to buy drugs and went back in after realizing they’d been ripped off.

Defense attorney Alexander Raymond told the jury his client wasn’t a “bright” guy and had done a lot of “boneheaded” things.

But Raymond argued that prosecutors simply hadn’t proven their case.

Hardiman acknowledged that one of the victims, Jackson, had admitted being a drug dealer. But he said that didn’t mean it was OK to shoot him.

“There is no drug-dealer exception for robbery,” he said.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

 

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