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Four plead guilty in Williamson murder

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By Randy Patrick

All four suspects in the robbery and murder of Bardstown teenager Cameron Williamson last year pleaded guilty in Nelson Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon to charges for those crimes.

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The admitted shooter, Shelmontay Adams, who was 21 at the time of the killing on May 16, 2017, agreed to a plea in which he will get 25 years on a murder charge and 20 years on first-degree robbery, to run concurrently for a total of 25 years. He will not be considered for parole until he has served 20 years.

Two defendants, Alexis Gribbins and Damion Murphy, both got the same sentences: 15 years for first-degree robbery and five years on an amended charge of facilitation to murder, to run consecutively. They will have to serve 85 percent of their time on the robbery charges and 20 percent on the facilitation to murder before they can be considered for parole.

Torique Griffin received a five-year sentence on two amended charges of facilitation to murder and facilitation to first-degree robbery, to run consecutively for a total of 10 years. Both of those carry a 20 percent minimum before he will be eligible for parole.

Chief Circuit Judge Charles Simms accepted the pleas.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Terry Geoghegan said the family of the victim agreed to the pleas.

“The family not only participated in the mediation all day today, but they participated in every aspect of the trial and have been here for every court appearance, and we appreciate their dedication and assistance in this matter. And our hearts go out to them on the loss of their loved one, Cameron Williamson,” Geoghegan said.

The family declined to comment on the outcome of the case following the pleas.

Retired Washington Circuit Judge Doughlas George presided over the mediation.

First Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Chip McKay handled the prosecution for the state.

“We appreciate him prosecuting the case to what we think was a very successful and logical conclusion,” Geoghegan said.

“We knew from the beginning that in this case there were various degrees of culpability for the four defendants, and we think the pleas reflect each person’s level of culpability,” he said.

“We also appreciate the efforts and the expertise of the Bardstown Police Department and the Nelson County first responders who responded to the scene … and assisted us in these matters,” Geoghegan said.

Detective Lynn Davis Jr. of the Bardstown Police Department was the lead investigator on the case, according to McKay.

Deputies from the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 911 call that night and assisted Bardstown Police immediately after the crime.

The killing occurred just after midnight on the morning after Mother’s Day.

Officers received the call about a gunshot victim lying in front of the fuel pumps at the FiveStar convenience store on East Stephen Foster Avenue downtown. According to police, Williamson was going to sell some marijuana, but three of the defendants conspired to rob the 17-year-old. During the robbery, Adams shot the boy, who died before help arrived.

Geoghegan said the reason Griffin got a lesser sentence than the others involved was that he had no part in the planning but was riding with them that night, and when the robbery happened, he was given an empty handgun to hold. The prosecutor said he cooperated with police from the beginning and with the prosecution team during the investigation and mediation.

If the case had gone to trial, McKay said, the prosecution would have told the jury that one of their options was the death penalty.