[SeMissourian.com] Light Rain Fog/Mist ~ 52°F  
River stage: 14.66 ft. Rising
Monday, Dec. 22, 2014

Williams sentenced to life in jail with parole

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

(Photo)
Cape Girardeau County Circuit Judge William Syler sentenced Steven Williams to life in prison with the possibility of parole Monday for the second-degree murder of Darcus Purl.

Williams, 37, fatally shot Purl during a confrontation in September over their mutual romantic interest, neighbor Georgia Cowson.

As Syler announced Williams' sentence, a small cry arose from a group of Purl's family members who attended the hearing. Williams' face remained impassive, but as Syler expounded on his sentencing, sadness began to creep onto

his features.

Public defender Amy Commean said before the sentencing that she had to reiterate how sorry her client was for what she called a "tragic circumstance" and said that if Williams could take it back, he surely would.

She said that on Sept. 20, 2012, Williams did not set out to kill Purl, never intended to commit a crime, and wanted Purl's family to know how sorry he was.

However, assistant prosecuting attorney Angel Woodruff said the state sought life in prison because of the nature of Williams' offense.

At a hearing in June, Commean and Williams' other public defender, Jennifer Booth, attempted to convince Syler to convict Williams on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

The defenders said Williams was blinded by a sudden passion that caused him to shoot Purl. Williams and Purl both were romantically involved with Cowson, and the incident occurred at her home.

Christopher Bryant, a witness who was 18 when the shooting took place, said he and Cowson's nephew, Keymen Lane, then 16, were leaving Cowson's home after dinner when they saw Williams, who asked Lane to deliver a message to Cowson, Lane testified June 17.

While these messages were being sent back and forth, Purl stopped Lane on the porch and told him not to relay any more messages, then yelled at Williams to stop sending them, Lane testified.

The men exchanged words, and Purl left the porch and approached Williams, Lane said. A verbal altercation ensued until Williams pulled out a gun.

"I was standing there until he pulled his gun out, and that's when I started making my way up the street," Bryant testified.

Cowson said Williams shot Purl, who ran from him.

"He chased him, and he kept shooting, and Darcus dropped to the ground," she said, breaking into tears.

Booth said Williams' act of "sudden passion" was based on fear and anger when his conflict with Purl appeared to be escalating into a physical confrontation. Cowson had tried to restrain Purl twice before he was able to approach Williams.

Dr. Russell Deidiker, the forensic pathologist who conducted an autopsy on Purl, testified at the June hearing that Purl had two fatal gunshot wounds -- one that perforated his lungs and another that perforated his intestine and liver.

Purl also had nonfatal gunshot wounds to his buttock, knee, calf, right forearm and left hand, Deidiker said.

It will be 25 and a half years before Williams is eligible for parole.

smaue@semissourian.com

388-3644


Fact Check
See inaccurate information in this story?


Comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on semissourian.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

Sorry, parole should not be an option - ever.

Would the judge want this guy living next to him?

-- Posted by wpcprop on Tue, Jul 22, 2014, at 7:51 AM

how about getting the rope

-- Posted by bagman75 on Tue, Jul 22, 2014, at 1:56 PM


Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration. If you already have an account on seMissourian.com or semoball.com, enter your username and password below. Otherwise, click here to register.

Username:

Password:  (Forgot your password?)

Your comments:
Please be respectful of others and try to stay on topic.


Related subjects