Former Warner Robins Councilman John Williams, who is facing extortion charges on a federal indictment, will have to come up with $2,000 in cash before he’ll be released from custody after violating the conditions of his bond.
With a strong warning, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Charles Weigle told Williams he was giving him a “second chance” by setting a new bond at $20,000, in which 10 percent must be paid before Williams is released. Williams, 73, turned himself in to U.S. Marshals on Wednesday morning.
Weigle also ordered that Williams will be on home detention upon release on bail and must remain at home except for education, religion, employment and other conditional outings as approved by pretrial services.
The judge admonished Williams that there would be “zero tolerance” on any additional bond violations.
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Williams admitted to violating his original probation by traveling out of state for one day without prior approval. On Feb. 1, he went to St. Johns, Fla., to bail out a woman, according to statements made during Wednesday’s court hearing in Macon on whether to revoke Williams’ bond. There was also reference to an apparent altercation between the woman, identified as Stormy Smith, and Williams’ wife of 52 years, Elna Williams. Elna Williams told the judge she was trying to evict Smith from a Commercial Circle building and was arrested. The incident apparently happened sometime this year.
Catherine Leek, a federal defender, told the judge John Williams was good friends with the grandparents of Smith. Elna Williams, who identified Smith as a “classmate,” said the grandparents paid $600 of the bond, and the Williamses paid $250. Elna Williams denied a question from federal prosecutor Tamara Jarrett about whether John Williams was actually having an affair with Smith.
Jarrett told the judge that prosecutors believe John Williams is hiding money from federal officials. Weigle said from the bench that certainly doubts were raised during the hearing, but there was not conclusive evidence from which to make a ruling.
The prosecutor also raised questions about a Warner Robins building permit issued in Williams’ name for improvements to the McArthur Boulevard home in which Williams and his wife live. But an investigator for the defense testified the home belonged to a nephew and that the Williamses live there without a rental fee.
Jarrett also sought to revoke Williams’ bond for him failing to report March 1 by telephone to the U.S. Probation Office as required. Leek told the judge Williams missed the reporting period by 15 minutes having woken late due to numerous medications for his heart condition that make him sleepy. Williams did leave a message, she said.
Williams previously had posted a $10,000 bond to be released from jail last year after he was charged with three federal crimes related to the attempted purchase of a city vehicle. The charges were tampering with a witness, false statements to a federal agency and extortion under the color of official right (as a councilman).
Williams was unseated in November, when voters of Post 6 elected former firefighter Mike Davis to the position.
A Houston County Superior Court case is also pending against Williams in which he is charged with making false statements to Warner Robins police in connection with reporting a city-issued cell phone stolen.
Williams has pleaded not guilty in both cases.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.