Supreme Court lets stand the conviction of man who killed Augusta school cop

Monday, March 29, 2010 5:49 PM
Last updated 5:55 PM
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ATLANTA - A man convicted of the 1997 murder of an Augusta school police officer lost his appeal today when the Georgia Supreme Court upheld his conviction and life sentence.
Bryan T. Williams was convicted in 1999 for the shooting of Officer Michael Stephenson who was responding to a burglar alarm at Jamestown Elementary School. Stephenson had arrested Williams, frisked him, and placed him in his patrol car and was talking to the school's custodian when Williams shot him through the car's window. The custodian, and his son who was also a witness, identified Williams, who turned himself in that night.
In the unanimous decision written by Justice Hugh Thompson, the court found it reasonable for a jury to conclude Williams was guilty. It also found there was no reason to move the trial to a different city as Williams had requested, despite 38 articles and six letters published in The Augusta Chronicle in the 16 months between his arrest and trial.
Thompson noted that the judge observed when the 65 jurors were questioned "that it was 'startling' how few prospective jurors indicated that they had formed a fixed opinion about the case; and defense counsel conceded that all jurors stated they could set aside whatever they may have read or heard about the case and any opinions they may have formed. Our review of the (jury-questioning) proceedings confirms those conclusions."
Thompson said Williams didn't prove that the newspaper coverage mislead jurors.
"It was not shown that the newspaper articles were inflammatory or stated inaccurate facts of the crime," Thompson wrote.

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willie7 03/29/10 - 07:52 pm
He him there

He him there forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Augusta resident
Augusta resident 03/29/10 - 08:52 pm
The articles were printed

The articles were printed after he pulled the trigger. Why do they always try to blame someone else for their mistakes? Why do lawyers even support someone that shoots a cop.

AutumnLeaves 03/29/10 - 10:01 pm
I will never forget Officer

I will never forget Officer Stephenson. He was a good man and the fact that anyone would shoot him is a tragedy beyond words. My heart broke when I realized his family had lost him in such a senseless way. If there is a heaven; he is there.

Sargebaby 03/29/10 - 10:20 pm
AutumnLeaves, what do you

AutumnLeaves, what do you mean, "if" there is a Heaven? He is there from the moment his heart stopped beating! God rest his soul!

southernlady3296 03/30/10 - 01:17 pm
I knew Michael and worked

I knew Michael and worked with his father Sam. He was a wonderful man. His caring and compassion was felt by all that he was in contact with. Especially the students at Glenn Hills Middle. I know he is in Heaven. I hope this man stays in jail the rest of his life for what he did and what he took from the Stephenson family.

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