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Judge sentences man for killing mother of intended target in Youngstown

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Jesse Williams took the stand in his own defense last month, saying the shooting was an accident

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A Mahoning County judge sentenced Jesse Williams to life in prison without parole for the murder of Diane Dent in 2018.

Williams called what happened a “bad reaction” but it will leave him behind bars for the rest of his life.

As Williams awaited his fate, prosecutors told Judge Maureen Sweeney his crimes didn’t make sense.

“This is one of those — you don’t understand why this happened,” Atty. Rob Andrews said.

Last month, Williams was convicted in the shooting death of the 66-year-old woman in the doorway of her north side home in June 2018.

Prosecutors say Dent was never Williams’ intended target. They said he was looking for her son, Anttwon, who’d gotten into a fight with Williams the day before, reportedly over a woman.

“This is a completely innocent victim who had nothing to do with this, to the best of our knowledge. Didn’t even know there was any dispute,” Andrews said.

Williams took the stand in his own defense last month, saying the shooting was an accident.

As he did during his trial, Williams again admitted looking for the victim’s son that day but as he was turning to leave, heard a door open behind him.

Thinking he was about to be attacked, he turned quickly and fired.

Williams’ ex-girlfriend and co-defendant Rebecca Perez was with him at the time and Williams’ lawyer argued she instigated the dispute.

Perez was given two years probation last week for cooperating with authorities.

“[Williams] was dragged into this incident by others,” Atty. Jim Schoren said. “He didn’t choose to be there. He was pulled into that situation.”

But the judge wasn’t convinced, sentencing Williams to life behind bars with no chance for parole.

Williams is the brother of Willy “Flip” Williams, who was executed in prison for his murder convictions.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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