Man gets 63 years for murder

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 12, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Pamelyn Liles sat on the witness stand in Suffolk Circuit Court Thursday and looked her brother’s killer in the eye.

&uot;Kelly Hale, you murdered my brother,&uot; Liles said to Hale, who shot Jonathan Williams, 49, during a party on Nansemond Parkway on Oct. 25, 2003. &uot;There are no excuses for what you did. I am disgusted with your reactions. I will never forget this fact. Forgiveness will not be easy, maybe never at all.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Hale, 27, was convicted of first-degree murder, shooting into an occupied dwelling and unauthorized use of a handgun on Sept. 9 last year. After denying that he had committed the murder just after it occurred, he eventually conceded that he shot Williams, but claimed that his judgment was clouded by drugs and alcohol.

Circuit Court Judge Westbrook J. Parker sentenced Hale to 60 years for the murder, three years for the firearm charge, and 10 for the unoccupied dwelling offense. He was also ordered to pay $9,257.38 in restitution. The 10-year sentence was suspended.

&uot;I’m not a violent person,&uot; Hale said on the stand. &uot;This was totally out of character for me. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with, and I ask that you all please forgive me for what I did.&uot;

Williams attended Western Branch High School and Hampton University and worked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. He was a member a First Baptist Church and lived in Virginia Beach with his parents at the time of the shooting.

&uot;He was very helpful,&uot; said his mother Helen Williams. &uot;Anytime our house needed repairs, he was there. We cannot find the words to express this tremendous loss. We are well into our 70s, and we never expected to have to bury our son.&uot;

&uot;As my reverend says,&uot; said the victim’s father, Leon Williams. &uot;’How do we make sense out of nonsense?’ I don’t know. What gave Mr. Hale the right to shoot my son down at point-blank range. I only hope that God has mercy on his soul.&uot;

Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Will Jamerson asked the court for the maximum sentence.

&uot;If you have somebody that is good to everybody,&uot; Jamerson said, &uot;someone who still makes sure his mom and dad are taken care of, his loss leaves a tremendous void in their lives.

&uot;There were young children in the home (where Williams was shot),&uot; Jamerson said. &uot;The bullet could have went through Mr. Williams and hit the kids.&uot;

But defense attorney David Bouchard still asked for leniency for his client, pointing out his remorse and small criminal record. Hale was convicted in 1999 of assault and brandishing a firearm.

&uot;This was a single shot, clouded by whiskey and drugs,&uot; Bouchard said.

&uot;This is not a max case. It’s a case of tragedy caused by drinking. I ask for the low side of the sentencing guidelines.&uot;

Helen Williams said she was satisfied by the sentence.

&uot;I would say that we can live with it,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s fair according to the guidelines. We’ll miss (Williams) every day of our lives.&uot;

It was unclear at press time whether Hale would appeal his sentence.