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Friday, 20 April 2012 00:00

Memphis Man Convicted of 1st Degree Murder and 3 Attempted Murders

Williams Williams
On Friday, April 20th, 2012, a Shelby County jury convicted a Memphis man for the shooting death of an eighteen year-old woman in July 2010. The jury found James Williams, age 40, guilty of first degree murder of Kawanda Wainwright. Williams was also found guilty of three counts of attempted first degree murder and employing a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony.
The shootings occurred during a domestic dispute involving Williams and Wainwright’s mother at his home at 615 Mosby in Memphis.
The Memphis Police Department Homicide investigation revealed that on July 4th, 2009, Wainwright and her two children, (ages six months-old and 3 years-old), were with her mother Mary Taylor, age 35, and her six younger children, (ranging in age from six years-old to fourteen years of age). It was Taylor’s birthday and they were visiting Williams (Taylor’s estranged husband) at his home. Taylor and Williams became involved in an argument during the visit. Taylor, Wainwright and their children attempted to leave when Williams physically tried to stop them. Wainwright tried to intervene, and became involved in an argument with Williams. Williams then pulled out a handgun and fired at them, fatally wounding Wainwright, and injuring Taylor and her six year old daughter.
Williams continued to fire the weapon at Taylor’s 14 year-old daughter when the weapon failed. Taylor and her six year old were treated for their injuries and survived. Wainwright died later at the Regional Medical Center.
At 9:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 21st, the jury sentenced Williams to life with possibility of parole after fifty-one (51) years for the murder of Kawanda Wainwright. Attempted first degree murder is a class A felony and carries a sentence range of fifteen (15) to sixty (60) years per count. Employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony is a class C felony and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six-years. Williams is scheduled to be sentenced on the attempted murder counts and the firearm count on May 30th, 2012 in Division V (Five) of Criminal Court.
Assistant District Attorneys Pam Fleming and Reginald Henderson prosecuted this case.