Three jailed in slaying of Lance Adrian "Goat" Williams
The shooter in a Warner Robins killing has been sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.
Anighyah Zhalon Neal, 23, was found guilty Thursday of felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm during a crime, according to a Houston County District Attorney's Office news release.
The jury acquitted Neal of other charges, including a second count of felony murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during a crime of armed robbery.
Jurors deliberated about three hours before returning their verdict after a four-day trial.
Judge Edward D. Lukemire sentenced Neal immediately afterward.
Neal was charged with robbing and killing 30-year old Lance Adrian "Goat" Williams in his home in the Richmond Hill subdivision off Gunn Road about 2 p.m. July 8, 2016.
"Neal claimed he shot and killed Lance Williams in self-defense but his version of events was simply not supported by the physical evidence at the scene," District Attorney George Hartwig said in the release.
"Neal lied about this being self-defense and tried to get away with murder. The jury obviously didn't buy Neal's far-fetched version of events, and we are certainly glad they did not. We hope this verdict and sentence will bring some measure of closure to the family and friends of Lance Williams."
According to the news release, a neighbor heard glass breaking and saw a man jumping the fence into his backyard. The neighbor confronted the man, later identified as Neal, who then threatened him.
The neighbor, who followed Neal and saw him get picked up by two men in a maroon car, got the tag number and called 911.
Arriving officers found a rear window broken out at 604 Richmond Hill Parkway and saw a baseball cap and partially loaded magazine for a .45 caliber pistol on the ground below the window. The front door was partially open.
Williams was found dead on the floor with a gunshot wound to the chest and a loaded, unfired .22 revolver near his body. Juan Hererra, a Warner Robins police crime scene investigator, recovered four spent .45 casings and three .45 projectiles in the residence.
The tag number resulted in the arrests of Neal, Voneric Richardson, and Kadarius Kendrick. All three were acquainted with the victim.
Both Richardson and Kendrick were also charged with felony murder in the slaying, but the murder charge against Richardson was later dismissed in consideration of his guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, theft by receiving stolen property and tampering with evidence, according to Houston County Superior Court records.
Kendrick's case is still pending. His attorney Debra Gomez said she remains hopeful that the murder charge will be dismissed against Kendrick also.
Kendrick "has maintained that he had no idea what Mr. Neal was doing" while he and Richardson waited in the car for Neal, Gomez said.
When arrested, Neal told Warner Robins police Sgt. Shane Mann that Williams pulled a gun on him and first fired at him.
"The claim of self-defense was not supported by evidence at the scene which showed that .45 caliber handgun was the one gun fired," the release said.
Neal also claimed he dropped the magazine and tossed the gun in the backyard after jumping through the window. The gun was never recovered.