October 26, 2014

Elyria
Clear
53°F
test

Killer’s accomplice gets 13 years


Barry Williams Jr. testified against friend on 2006 Lorain killing

ELYRIA — Barry Williams Jr. was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years in prison for his role in the 2006 death of Michael Smith.

CHUCK HUMEL / CHRONICLE
Barry Williams turns to apologize to the family of Michael Smith at his sentencing Wednesday.

Last month, he testified against Willie Evans IV, who received life in prison.

Prosecutors agreed to allow Williams, 20, to plead guilty to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter and other charges in connection with the April 13, 2006, shooting and a 2005 drug bust in exchange for his cooperation.

“Certainly, Mr. Smith was a victim of circumstance. He is dead because he walked across the street to do a good deed for his wife,” said Assistant County Prosecutor Laura Swansinger. “It’s senseless. He shouldn’t be dead, but Mr. Williams lived up to his end of the bargain.”

After the hearing, Smith’s sister, Cindy Noster, said Williams did the right thing by stepping up and testifying against his friend in what she also called the “senseless” death of her brother.

“Without him, I don’t think we would have had as strong a case,” Noster said.

Williams said he didn’t actually see Evans, 19, pull the trigger, but he said that when he looked over his shoulder as he fled the scene, Williams was aiming a gun at Smith, who had gone outside to move his wife’s car, and a moment later there was a gunshot.

Evans testified during his trial that it was Williams who fired the fatal shot. Tyrone Young, who police say was also involved in the robbery and killing of the 64-year-old retired steelworker, is still awaiting trial on murder and other charges that could send him to prison for life.

Williams apologized to Smith’s family, saying he would try to use his time in prison to better himself.

“I’m sorry for everything, and if I could change things I would,” he said.

Noster said Williams’ apology seemed genuine to her, and he took a risk when he testified against Evans.

Bill Willis, Williams’ attorney, asked county Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery to push the state prison system to keep Williams separated from Young and Evans, who Willis said were plotting to harm his client.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.