By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – David Williams of Olive Branch pleaded guilty Monday for his part in the 2005 stabbing death of girlfriend Demetria Bracey.
Williams, 29, was sentenced to 20 years on his plea to culpable negligent manslaughter.
Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth also suspended a five-year sentence for his guilty plea to what’s termed “inveiglement kidnapping,” which Black’s Law Dictionary defines as luring or enticing someone to do something through “deceit or insincerity.”
Williams was scheduled to go on trial July 30, his second charged with Bracey’s murder.
After his sentence, Williams heard Bracey’s father say he forgave him, District Attorney Ben Creekmore said.
“I feel like this plea was respectful to Demetria and her life,” Creekmore said, noting it was important for Williams to accept responsibility for her death.
Williams’ attorney, David Hill of Oxford, said the new charges against his client “more appropriately fit that conduct which he has never denied committing, rather than the charge for which he was initially indicted.”
In 2007, a Lafayette County jury convicted and sentenced him to life in prison. But three years later, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial, saying sufficient trial errors occurred to force a new look at the case.
Williams insisted he and Bracey, who were romantically involved, had a suicide pact he couldn’t carry out on himself. She was found stabbed in a closet in Williams’ Oxford apartment several days after she died.
They were students at the University of Mississippi.
Until the Supreme Court ruling, Williams served about three and a half years of his sentence in a Meridian medical facility to treat psychiatric problems.
“David Williams was given the opportunity to accept responsibility for his role in Demetria Bracey’s death,” Hill said in an email statement. “David freely admitted at the time of his arrest to aiding, abetting and encouraging Demetria’s death, as part of a suicide agreement.”
Creekmore also said Monday’s plea removes Bracey’s family from having to hear testimony that surely would have upset them again.
Williams, whose parents accompanied him to the hearing, will get credit for time served in confinement and likely will experience a lengthy evaluation before he’s assigned to a specific facility, Creekmore noted.