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The family of L.C. Lyons, Jr., asked for life in prison without the possibility of parole for the woman convicted of fatally shooting him in the head, robbing him, and setting fire to the bed where he lay.
Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks on Monday ordered Melody Williams, 49, of 2110 14th St. to spend her life behind bars. While Williams will one day be eligible for parole, she must first serve 59 years in prison.
“What brings me joy is that the victim’s family left the courthouse with a feeling that they received substantial justice,” Ian English, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said after the lengthy hearing.
Williams, who had insisted upon representing herself at trial, was convicted Friday of aggravated murder, aggravated arson, aggravated robbery, and two counts of tampering with evidence for the death of Mr. Lyons at his Inland Drive home in Sylvania Township on July. 4, 2011. She did not react to the sentence but simply told the judge before it was imposed that she was innocent.
Still acting as her own attorney, Williams tried at the last minute to get the court to grant her a new trial by alleging the jury had been tainted, that several officials, including Mr. English and Shaun Enright, a Toledo city councilman who served on the 12-person jury, were in a conspiracy to deny her right to a fair trial. Judge Franks allowed her to make her case — including taking testimony from Mr. Enright — but ultimately denied her motion.
“You clearly are an intelligent woman, and you’re also a dangerous woman,” the judge told Williams. “Your inability to be honest and truthful about things, even when you’re faced with them, is very troubling to the court.”
Williams, appearing in a blue jail jumpsuit rather than the tailored suits and long, black wig she wore during her trial, did not make a statement on her behalf.
The victim’s sister, Vanessa Randolph, told the court her brother’s murder had taken its toll on her family and in particular, her mother. Williams was not arrested and charged with Mr. Lyons’ murder until more than a year after he was found in his burned-out home with a single gunshot wound to his head. Prosecutors said the motive was robbery.
“While we waited, Melody Williams walked freely throughout the streets of Toledo for over a year,” Ms. Randolph said. “To our knowledge, she never expressed one iota of sympathy and concern regarding L.C.’s death.
“We believe Ms. Williams is a true menace to society. How anyone can be so callous is beyond our understanding and yet we still ask God to help us to forgive her for killing L.C.”
Judge Franks commended Sylvania Township police and in particular, Detective Jim Rettig, for doggedly pursing Mr. Lyons’ killer. For Williams, the judge did not mince words. “You are a cold-blooded killer,” she told her before imposing the life sentence. “You took the life of L.C. Lyons and as someone said. … He wasn’t a saint, but he was a man. He was a father. He was a son. He was a brother. He was obviously someone that you had a focus of intent not to bring out the best, but to take the best from him.”
Williams told the court she planned to appeal her conviction and wanted a lawyer appointed to represent her in that appeal.
Detective Rettig said afterward the case was a challenging one, but said he followed the clues where they took him, and that ultimately was to Melody Williams.
“I’m glad justice was done for the family of L.C.,” he said.
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