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Smyrna Man Guilty of Beating, Choking Wife to Death

Jurors took just over two hours to convict Derrick McLaurence Williams, 32, of malice murder, felony murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

Jurors took just over two hours to convict Derrick McLaurence Williams, 32, of malice murder, felony murder and two counts of aggravated assault in the Dec. 5, 2012, death of Finesse Dawson, 33. Courtesy Cobb County District Attorney's Office
Jurors took just over two hours to convict Derrick McLaurence Williams, 32, of malice murder, felony murder and two counts of aggravated assault in the Dec. 5, 2012, death of Finesse Dawson, 33. Courtesy Cobb County District Attorney's Office
Patch Staff Report

Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds announced Friday that a Smyrna man has been found guilty of beating and choking his wife in their Smyrna home in 2012.

Jurors took just over two hours to convict Derrick McLaurence Williams, 32, of malice murder, felony murder and two counts of aggravated assault in the Dec. 5, 2012, death of Finesse Dawson, 33.

After beating and choking Dawson at their home on Old Spring Road, Williams fled the state. He was captured by U.S. Marshals on a Greyhound bus in Reno, Nev., on Dec. 12, 2012.

Also, at the time of the killing, Williams was on probation for prior domestic-violence acts against his wife.

Deputy Chief ADA Michael Scott Carlson, who tried the case with ADA Courtney Mays, told jurors that Dawson had endured years of suffering at her husband’s hands. She had a tattoo on her leg that said: “Love Hurts … Derrick.”

“This was sustained cruelty,” Carlson said in his final argument. “Derrick Williams is just a man who will not take responsibility for his actions. … He’s a one-man war on women.”

A previous girlfriend of Williams’ also testified to the beatings and injuries he inflicted on her, and there was also evidence of attacks on another former girlfriend.

During the sentencing phase, Williams offered an apology to Ms. Dawson’s family and said he wished he “could take it all back.”

Cobb Superior Court Judge Reuben M. Green sentenced Williams to life in prison without the possibility of parole, which was required because Williams is a recidivist. 

But as Carlson, the prosecutor, suggested, Judge Green said he would have given the same sentence regardless, “given the gravity of the injuries, and the torture of his victim.

The trial began Monday, March 24 with jury selection.

Just me March 31, 2014 at 10:00 AM
May he rot in hell.

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