Tuesday, May 9, 2023 Antonio Jamar James of Columbia, Miss. pled guilty yesterday to second-degree murder for the death of Deontravies Williamson in Gulfport, Miss. Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson sentenced James to serve 37 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Due to the nature of the crime, the 37-year period of incarceration must be served day-for-day.
The case began on February 7, 2021 when the Gulfport Police Department was called to Skeeters Bar & Grill on Teagarden Road around 11:35 pm.
When the police arrived, a crowd of people were gathered around the victim lying in the parking lot of the business. The victim was suffering from a gunshot wound to his face. He was then taken to Gulfport Memorial Hospital, but eventually died from the gunshot a few days later.
Police began investigating the shooting, which included obtaining video surveillance from inside and outside of the business. Based upon witness interviews and the contents of the video surveillance, police determined the victim and defendant were part of the same group that arrived at the location earlier in the night.
After they arrived, the victim, defendant, and 3 other individuals entered a car in the parking lot. Several minutes later, the victim and the defendant’s brother are seen exiting the car.
“Video surveillance showed the brother push and then punch the victim in the parking lot. At the same time, the defendant is seen exiting the vehicle with a handgun. The defendant then stepped in between his brother and the victim and fired one shot hitting the victim in the face. The defendant and his brother then briefly enter Skeeters, failing to attend to the victim. The duo then exit the business and are seen departing the parking lot headed south on Teagarden Road with the defendant’s brother driving the car,” said Assistant District Attorney Matthew D. Burrell, who prosecuted the case.
Gulfport Police ultimately obtained warrants for the defendant for murder and his brother for accessory after the fact to murder.
The defendant was subsequently arrested by the US Marshals in Marion County, Mississippi and was transported back to Harrison County for prosecution. The defendant’s brother was arrested for assisting the defendant in leaving the scene, and he previously entered a guilty plea to accessory after the fact to murder and is currently pending sentencing.
During the plea and the sentencing, the defendant apologized for his actions. He told the Court he thought the victim had a gun and was going to use it on his brother, so he shot the victim. Judge Dodson spoke to the defendant about how his decision to use a gun in a fight has changed the lives of two families. The Judge then sentenced the defendant to a total of 40 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, suspended 3 years, leaving 37 years to serve.
“Unfortunately, this is another senseless killing where a 21-year-old is dead and another 22- year-old will spend the next 37 years of his life in prison with no probation or parole. From all indications, these two individuals were friends, and the defendant’s knee-jerk, in the moment, reaction leaves two families without their sons. Nothing was gained and everything was lost. We know that nothing will bring back the victim, but we hope the closure of the criminal case assists the family in their healing process. When crime occurs, there will be accountability and consequences, but we must continue to mentor our youth that violence is not the answer,” said District Attorney W. Crosby Parker.