Demonte Lavell Williams from Gulfport, was sentenced Thursday, October 12, 2023, by Second District Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt, to the maximum sentence for manslaughter of twenty (20) years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
The sentence follows a four day jury trial that ended on September 1, 2023 with the jury’s verdict of guilty on the charge of Manslaughter. During the trial the jury heard evidence that on June 14, 2021, Williams shot and killed twenty-seven (27) year old Brent Jones in the parking lot of O’Reilly Auto Parts on Dedeaux Road.
Jones was the current fiancé of Williams’ children’s mother, and the two men had been arguing over social media in the days preceding the shooting. The testimony at trial revealed that both men had made threats toward the other, both verbally and over social media.
Eyewitness accounts from the morning of the shooting established that Williams arrived at the store after Jones, and while inside the store, Jones verbally confronted Williams about the social media comments. Jones then went out to Williams’ vehicle and ripped the door handle off Williams’ truck.
“Both eyewitness testimony and the location of the gunshot wounds suffered by Mr. Jones established that Jones had his back turned to Williams when Williams exited the store and shot Jones,” said Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker, who prosecuted the case along with ADA Jasmine Magee.
At the sentencing hearing, the State provided the Court with Williams’ criminal history, including a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence against a former girlfriend, and another incident in which Williams discharged a firearm into the air during an argument with a prior boyfriend of his children’s mother.
When asked by the Court if he had anything to say, Williams stated only that he was “truly sorry that this situation had to happen.”
After hearing arguments from counsel for the State and defense regarding sentencing, Judge Schmidt stated, “this is yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of unnecessary gun violence plaguing our communities, and unfortunately, I see no end in sight. You are hereby remanded to the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for a term of twenty (20) years.”
“We hope the jury’s verdict and the sentence handed down in this case provides a sense of justice to the family of Brent Jones, and serves as a cautionary tale to others not to settle their differences with a gun,” stated District Attorney W. Crosby Parker.