COLUMBIA — A convicted felon who shot and killed two men he said were trying to rob his Spartanburg apartment is facing a federal weapons charge.
Douglas Williams, 30, was indicted last month on a charge of being a felon in possession of a gun and ammunition, according to federal court records.
Williams used a .38-caliber handgun to shoot and kill 22-year-old Michael Gentry-Hill Jr. and 18-year-old Darren Hill in April, authorities said. Both men died from gunshots to the head.
Authorities said one of the men was wearing a ski mask. At the time, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said Williams’ apartment had been broken into three times previously. According to local investigators, Williams got the gun from the glove compartment of his girlfriend’s car.
Wright has been an outspoken advocate of self-protection, urging people to get concealed weapons permits. In October, after a suspect was arrested in an attempted rape case, the sheriff suggested that women carry a .45-caliber gun so accuracy wouldn’t be an issue.
State police said Williams should not have had a weapon because of a 2008 forgery conviction. Wright did not charge Williams in the April shooting, consulting with prosecutors and ultimately saying that a 2010 court ruling states that Williams can use a handgun to defend himself and his property, even though he is a convicted felon.
Arrested in August, Williams has pleaded not guilty to the gun charge and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. His bond was set at $25,000, and he was released on electronic monitoring.
Williams’ attorney said in an e-mail that his client and his family had been burglarized in the past and pointed out that the men killed were armed and wore masks.
“The men who were shot in this incident were hardly innocent victims,” Andy Johnston said.
Williams had been scheduled to appear in court this week, but a federal judge allowed him to delay that appearance until later this year.