Mississippi man walks free 20 years after killing his father and step-mother
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - James Williams III is a free man more than 20 years after murdering his father and step-mother, a crime scene officials would call “a horrific sight.”
According to the family of one of his victims, Cindy Williams, James Williams III was released Tuesday morning. They were allegedly told of his release only after calling the Parole Board office themselves.
Cindy Williams’ family had been fighting James Williams’ release since they were notified of his parole in April.
Several lawmakers had also spoken out about Williams’ release, including District 62 Representative Tom Weathersby and District 77 Representative Price Wallace.
In all, 27 Mississippi House members asked the Parole Board to reverse their decision to grant James Williams III parole, calling it “a public safety issue.”
Below, watch how WLBT News originally reported the murders of James Williams, Jr. and Cynthia Williams.
James Williams III, who was 17 at the time, killed both James Williams, Jr. and his wife Cynthia Williams by shooting them with a .22 rifle in December of 2002.
Williams then attempted to dismember the couple in order to fit them inside two Rubbermaid totes. Their bodies were discovered in the woods near Shiloh Park in the back of a Chevrolet truck on January 6, 2003.
In 2005, Williams was found guilty of murdering his father and step-mother, and was sentenced to more than 60 years without the possibility of parole.
However, seven years later, the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for minor offenders was unconstitutional.
According to Williams’ attorney, during his stay in prison, James Williams III has received a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and became the Minister of Music for Parchman’s Koinonia Church.
Williams attorney, called James a “moral leader” among the inmates at the Marshall County Correctional Facility, where he has served as a missionary and field minister.
It was also from the Marshall County Correctional Facility where Williams was freed Tuesday morning.
It was in light of his parole that Parole Board member Tony Smith announced his resignation. He made this announcement Friday, and while it hasn’t been officially stated that the controversy over Williams’ parole was the reason for his resignation, some are drawing the connection.
Smith was appointed by Governor Reeves in 2020.
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