Covering Louisiana

Jan 23, 2013 11:26 AM by AP

Baton Rouge mall shooter gets 20 years

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - An 18-year-old Baton Rouge man received a 20-year prison term and forgiveness after pleading guilty in a January 2012 shooting that injured two teenage bystanders outside the Mall of Louisiana.

The Advocate report the teen victims and their parents said inside the courtroom that they forgive Johnny Williams and pray that he will someday become a productive member of society.

Williams was scheduled to stand trial Tuesday on two counts of attempted first-degree murder but instead pleaded guilty as charged in exchange for a 20-year sentence. He faced up to 50 years on each count.

"I think 20 years is a good resolution here," prosecutor Adam Haney said outside the courthouse. "Let's face it - 20 years is a long time."

Williams accepted responsibility, saving the state the expense of a trial and sparing the victims having to relive the painful events, Haney added.

Williams' co-defendant, Michael Burrell, 18, of Baker, also is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and was slated to stand trial Tuesday, but he is now set to return to court Feb. 6 for a status hearing.

The shooting occurred when Williams fired a weapon into a crowd during an argument with another teen, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Burrell, who allegedly supplied Williams with the gun, also is accused of being involved in the argument that led to the shooting and for giving Williams a ride afterward, the affidavit states.

Caleb Day, 16, was shot in the right arm and chest and suffered nerve damage to that arm, prosecutors have said. Trenton Miller, 16, was shot in the left arm, and the bullet went into his hip and out his leg, prosecutors said.

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