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Appeal denied in cemetery killing case

NATCHEZ — A man convicted of killing a Natchez teenager in the Natchez City Cemetery will have to serve his life sentence, the Mississippi Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Adrian Williams was 22 when he was convicted of murder in 2012 for the shooting death of Quinton Brown, 17, 18 months prior.

In its ruling, the appeals court rejected Williams’ argument that his guilt wasn’t proven at trial, and said his voluntary-written confession presented at trial supported the jury’s verdict.

Under the terms of his sentence, Williams will not be eligible for release until he is 65.

At trial, a witness — Denzel Fort, who had previously pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in connection with the killing — said he, Williams and a third man, Keldrick Washington, picked up Brown on Beaumont Street at 3 a.m. May 28, 2011, asking Brown if he wanted to join them in testing their pistols at the Natchez City Cemetery.

Fort said he did not enter the cemetery with the rest of the men that night, but heard several shots before seeing Washington come running from the area. Fort testified that after Washington told him Brown was dead, Williams threatened to kill the other men if they said anything.

A passerby found Brown’s body the next morning in the cemetery.

Washington later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, though only five of those would be served behind bars. The remainder of his sentence will be served on post-release probation.