Bond reduced for man accused of murder

Published 12:26 am Friday, August 5, 2016

NATCHEZ — The bond for a Natchez man accused of murder was reduced Thursday from $800,000 to $500,000.

Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson granted a motion for a reduced bond for Lavander Williams, 36, who is charged with murder and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

Williams is accused of shooting Charles Knight to death following an argument at M&M Grocery on Nov. 15, 2015.

Assistant District Attorney Tim Cotton said during the hearing that the state had “overriding safety concerns” for the community in regards to a bond reduction, particularly because of the nature of the crime that is documented on video.

The video evidence shows the victim leaving in a truck, with Williams allegedly chasing behind the vehicle carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and firing approximately 13 shots into the vehicle, Cotton said.

While Williams’ attorney, Aafram Sellers of Jackson, agreed video evidence documenting the crime exists, he argued Williams does not have a history of violence prior to “this isolated incident,” which allegedly involved prior history between Williams and the victim.

Sellers also argued that by law, Williams has a right to a reasonable bond and a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Sellers also noted Williams is a lifelong resident of Natchez and that he had family present in the courtroom supporting him. By law, family ties and length of residency in the community are included in factors the court considers when evaluating bond amounts.

Johnson said he was concerned about the allegations made against Williams, but said he would grant some relief in the form of the $300,000 reduction.

Williams’ trial is set for Nov. 22.

Williams was still being held in the Adams County Jail at of 7 p.m. Thursday.