FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:June 17, 2014
Contact: Heather F. WilliamsonCommonwealth’s Attorney’s Office20 East Market StreetLeesburg, VA 20176-2809(703) 777-0242
WILLIAMS CONVICTED OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER
JURY FIXES SENTENCE AT LIFE, PLUS THREE YEARS
LEESBURG, Virginia – June 17, 2014. A five day trial ended late yesterday afternoon with a jury finding Ryan Blaine Williams, 33, guilty of first degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the 2012 murder of Jovaughn Johnson.
In the afternoon hours of December 27, 2012, Williams entered Johnson’s parked vehicle in a residential area of Sterling, shooting him five times. Johnson’s body remained in the vehicle for several hours before being discovered by Sheriff’s Deputies.
Fleeing from the scene, Williams traveled first to Delaware and then to Colonial Beach, Virginia where he remained for several days before he was arrested and returned to Loudoun County.
Over the course of the trial, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Alex Amato and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Rosen, constructed a case that included jailhouse “snitch” testimony, photographs, maps, a firearms expert, and expert testimony regarding cell phone towers, signals, and cell phone usage.
“It’s difficult to describe the unbelievable amount of effort and hard work that went into this case from the prosecution and investigation team,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman. “Cases of this type often involve witnesses whose colorful background can be difficult to overcome. Thankfully, we’re able to say that justice prevailed for Mr. Johnson’s family.”
During the sentencing phase of the proceedings, Rosen presented additional evidence in the form of numerous prior convictions for the defendant dating back to 1993. Additionally, members of the victim’s family also testified about the impact Johnson’s death has had on them. Johnson’s mother described her son as “family centric.” “He was the one always planning things and getting us together,” she continued. Johnson’s sister read a poem she had written about the loss of her brother and asked the jury to consider how her family’s life has been impacted and the hole that has been created in their family by the loss of her brother.
The jury deliberated during the sentencing phase for less than one hour before returning a sentence of life in prison for first degree murder and three years for the firearm charge. The case will be back in Circuit Court again on September 19, 2014 where a final sentencing hearing will be conducted before the Hon. Thomas D. Horne who presided over the multi-day trial.