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Published: Friday, 7/18/2003

Attica man was shot to death, coroner says

BY STEVE MURPHY AND ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

ATTICA, Ohio - A Seneca County man found dead at a rural barn near Attica earlier this week was shot to death, according to autopsy results released yesterday.

Jeff Williams, 47, of Attica was shot twice with a small-caliber weapon, Dr. Donald Shanabrook, Seneca County coroner, said. Mr. Williams was found dead just before 8 p.m. Monday next to the barn at 13910 East U.S. 224 in Venice Township, just west of Attica.

A statement from the Seneca County Sheriff's Office said Mr. Williams' death was being investigated as a homicide. The coroner said Mr. Williams likely was killed the same day he was found.

According to the autopsy, performed by the Lucas County Coroner's Office, Mr. Williams was shot twice in the neck. One bullet pierced an artery; the other went through his neck and lodged in his shoulder, Dr. Shanabrook said.

Detective Kevin Reinbolt, of the Seneca County Sheriff's Office, had said Tuesday that Mr. Williams' body showed no obvious signs of stab or gunshot wounds.

Dr. Shanabrook said yesterday that Mr. Williams had “a pretty full beard” that “covered up most of his neck,” obscuring the fatal wounds.

Neither Detective Reinbolt nor Sheriff Tom Steyer could be reached for comment yesterday.

Members of Mr. Williams' family said he had been renting the barn since late last summer to care for about two dozen cows, which he bred as beef cattle. He had recently bought property on State Rt. 4 near Attica and spent the weekend before his death preparing to move his cows there, his mother, Iola, said.

Mrs. Williams said she didn't understand why someone would kill her son.

“I hope he's caught and has to pay,” she said, weeping softly as she sat inside her family's home near Republic, Ohio. “To ruin somebody's life when he's 47 years old - he never did anything to anybody to have this happen.”

Mrs. Williams said her son had no known enemies and was a hard-working man who ran a business, Williams Excavating, and enjoyed fishing and hunting. He was divorced and had two children - Eric, 14, and Jena, 11.

Mr. Williams, who grew up near Republic, was one of seven sons of Mrs. Williams and her late husband, Don.

“I never thought I'd live to see one of them dead,” Mrs. Williams said quietly.

Carol Williams, a sister-in-law, said Mr. Williams relished hard work and was always willing to lend a hand to others.



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