COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The last co-defendant in the June 2020 shooting death of a Columbus man in the parking lot of a strip club plead guilty Friday morning in Superior Court.
Santonio Lamar Williams, 19, was convicted along with four others in connection with the death of Samuel London. Police say the defendants were involved in a car-break-in operation in the parking lot of the Foxy Lady Lounge off of Victory Drive.
Williams was originally facing a felony murder charge, as well as entering an auto. The prosecution dismissed the charges upon Williams pleading guilty to violating the Street Gang Terrorism Prevention Act. According to Georgia law, this is a felony punishable by five to 20 years in prison.
Raymond Richmond, 17, who was 14 years old at the time of the shooting, was the first to plead guilty in May. Facing a felony murder charge, Richmond pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, as well as other charges.
The other three defendants, Vic’Trez Thomas, Cecil Berguin and Jyquarious Varner were offered a plea deal in June. The three co-defendants pled guilty to entering an auto. They had also been facing a felony murder charge before taking the plead deal. Williams was offered that plea deal, but turned it down. On Friday, he pled guilty to all of the charges against him.
Superior Court Judge John Martin sentenced Williams to 20 years with the first 12 years to serve. Williams will receive credit for the time he has already served.
Judge Martin addressed Williams in court regarding his involvement in the incident saying Williams “danced around the fire.”
“It’s unfortunate that you had to grow up in Muscogee County Jail for three years and [now] additional time in the prison system,” said Judge Martin. “But you just have to grow up. The young people are not very mature. It just takes a while to get there. But when you’re doing dangerous things, especially with firearms, then this is the type of stuff that happens, and you just got to own it, that you did it. You put yourself there.”
Williams’ mother, Antonia Mavry, supported her son at his sentencing hearing. Mavry says she is glad her son has taken responsibility for his actions, but the process has been nothing short of overwhelming.
“I’m glad that he got a second chance,” said Mavry. “Santonio has really matured and showed a lot of remorse. He’s learned a valuable lesson.”
Upon Williams’ release, Judge Martin requires him to work towards getting his GED and maintain employment. He was also sentenced in two separate cases regarding theft and robbery. Both of these convictions have a 10-year sentence with seven years to serve concurrent with his other case.