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Williams sentenced to life

McDuffie County Superior Court Judge Harold A. Hinesley deliberated only 15 minutes Tuesday before finding Bryant Williams guilty in the 2008 slaying of his girlfriend and her pregnant sister.

Williams faced a 15-count indictment in the bench trial, which began Monday morning.

Williams shot Linda Mathis and her sister, Marlow, on April 30, 2008, in the apartment Williams shared with Mathis on Cherry Street in Thomson. In December of that year, Williams waived his right to a jury trial, choosing a bench trial before a judge, preventing the state from seeking the death penalty.

Williams was found guilty of all except one of two feticide charges. District Attorney Dennis Sanders said that there was only one fetus but that two charges were filed as part of a strategic plan.

Before Judge Hinesley imposed a sentence, family and friends of the victims gave statements.

"Not only were they my sisters, but they were my best friends," said Mary Mathis, the youngest of the three sisters. "The two people that I looked up to will not be here for my prom, graduation and college -- things we used to talk about and look forward to."

Williams' mother, Teresa Lane, was one of six people who spoke on his behalf. She offered her condolences to the Mathis family.

"He never gave me a hard time, but he had a lot of emotional problems. The least little thing would get him upset," Lane said through tears.

Williams, 25, did not testify and did not speak before being sentenced.

Judge Hinesley sentenced Williams to life without the possibility of parole on 10 charges, including two counts of malice murder. Four of the charges were merged. He also sentenced Williams to a total of 15 years' confinement, to be served consecutively, for possession of a firearm during the commission of certain crimes.

Web posted on Thursday, February 10, 2011

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