Waco jury sentences man to 85 years for 15 year-old murder - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Waco jury sentences man to 85 years for 15 year-old murder


UPDATE: A jury has sentenced James Earl Williams to 85 years for murder.

It was a murder case that slipped through the cracks due to a paperwork issue. Tuesday, a Waco jury convicted James Earl Williams with murder, more than fifteen years after that shooting left one teen dead.

The family of that teen has been waiting a long time to hear this verdict

When the verdict was read you could hear the sighs of relief from the victim's family and friends some even cried.

Williams was found guilty of killing 17 year old Darren Eugene Lang in 1998 after almost getting into a fender bender with the car at a local fast food restaurant.

Williams then had a friend chase that car while he fired multiple shots hitting the victim twice, once in the back and one in the neck. The medical examiner testified Lang likely felt pain before he bled to death in the backset of that car at the Waco police station.

Monday, two of Williams' former friends testified including Zul Jackson who admitted to driving the car that night. Both Jackson and Terrence Johnson identified Williams as the shooter.

The defense tried to argue that the states witnesses weren't credible because they were both convicted felons looking to get time off their own sentences, but ultimately the jury believed them.

During closing arguments the prosecution admitted to dropping the ball on this case in the past and told the jurors that it's been 15 years, five months and seven days since Williams shot and killed Lang and that it was a travesty he was able to escape justice for so long.

The state also said there's no statute of limitations on murder for a reason and asked the jury to make Tuesday the day, Lang, his family and McLennan County got justice.

Because Williams has multiple felony convictions in the past the prosecution added an enhanced punishment charge. The enhanced charge carries a minimum of 15-99 years, instead of the normal 5-99 years.

After that guilty verdict was read the Lang family told News Channel 25 off camera, "Thank God justice has finally been served."

The punishment phase of the trial began Wednesday morning.

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