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Published: Saturday, 2/12/2005

Sentence of convicted murderer is reduced

Shawn Williams, left, confers with his attorney during a hearing yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Shawn Williams, left, confers with his attorney during a hearing yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
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The sentence of a Toledo man, who was spared from execution for killing his pregnant girlfriend in 1995, was reduced yesterday to life in prison.

Shawn C. Williams, 31, was resentenced at a hearing in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Williams had been on death row since 1999 for the strangulation and rape of 17-year-old Catrese Gregory until the Ohio Supreme Court in September ruled that Williams could not be resentenced to death.

Judge James Jensen ordered Williams to serve life in prison for aggravated murder with the possibility of parole after 30 years. Williams also was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison for rape. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively.

In 1999, a jury convicted Williams in the December, 1995, murder of Miss Gregory, who was three months' pregnant. Moments after he was found guilty, Williams, upset with the panel's verdict, punched one of his attorneys.

The jury recommended a death sentence for Williams, and Judge Jensen sentenced him to death. However, the state Supreme Court set aside the sentence because of court and prosecutorial errors and ordered a new sentencing hearing.

Yesterday, Judge Jensen called the crime a "cold-blooded senseless act" that was committed for no other reason than because Miss Gregory wanted to break off the relationship.

Judge Jensen said Williams has "never shown a scintilla of remorse" for his actions.

Donald Cameron, an attorney for the defendant, told the court he was instructed by his client not to say anything on his behalf. Williams did not make a statement.

The victim's mother, Margaret Gregory, was in the courtroom for the proceeding, but she did not address the court.

After the hearing, J. Christopher Anderson, an assistant prosecutor, said Williams must serve nearly 40 years of the sentences before he would be eligible for parole. He has served almost seven years of the sentence.

Outside court, Mrs. Gregory said she was satisfied with the sentence, but vowed that she would oppose the release of her daughter's killer if he ever becomes eligible for parole.

"I plan on living a very long time. As long as I am alive, I will try to prevent him from getting out," she said.



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