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
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.