BALTIMORE (WJZ) — He was accused of killing his wife in broad daylight on a busy city street. Now, one-time community activist Cleaven Williams is found guilty of first-degree murder.

Suzanne Collins has reaction to the verdict and the unusual move made by the jury in the case.

It was a shocking scene outside of an eastside district courthouse as a man sat on top of a woman, stabbing her repeatedly in November 2008. An officer tried to save the man’s wife—Veronica Williams—by shooting her husband, Cleaven Williams, twice with a taser.

The prosecutor says Veronica Williams was stabbed by her husband in the face to take away her beauty and in the throat to take her voice.

A witness to that murder is gratified.

“I held Veronica in her final moments of consciousness,” said Shayna Samero. “I did not know her but in that moment I felt like I knew her better than I’ve known some people my whole life.”  

The jury had been deliberating since mid-day Tuesday. There had been several notes to the judge, but their contents have not been released. They announced the verdict shortly after 2 p.m. Friday. They released this statement with their decision:

“We request that along with our verdict this letter be written into the court record. We ask that it be read aloud as a testament to the tragedy that unfolded on Nov. 17, 2008. It is with heavy hearts and great pain that we have arrived at our unanimous decision. We mourn with both families in the [loss] of their loved ones. We recognize that the lives of [the three children] have been forever changed [due] to this tragedy, that their lives would one day come to a [sense] of normalcy. We pray that Mr. Cleaven Williams be given the help and support that he so desperately needs to pay back the debt he owes. We pray that he find forgiveness in the eyes of his maker and that the children of this broken family find peace.”

Williams admitted he stabbed his wife, but told jurors he was provoked by his wife who’d cut his neck when they fought. But clearly they didn’t believe him.  They decided it was not voluntary manslaughter.

“I am truly grateful that Veronica’s name will be vindicated,” said Veronica’s friend lyverne Beard. “She was a beautiful person.”

A cousin of the victim says Veronica Williams was afraid to report the domestic abuse to police because Cleaven Williams was head of the Greenmount Community Association and had a close relationship with police officers and commanders.

“The eastern district– the ones that didn’t help Veronica and knew him– they are a disgrace to their badge,” said Carlin Robinson, Veronica’s cousin.

Williams will be sentenced on April 29. He faces life in prison.

The couple has three children–two girls ages 8 and 10 and a 9-year-old boy.

On Friday, the family of Cleaven Williams released this statement:

“This is a very tragic and sad situation for both families, but more importantly and especially for the children. Veronica (Vee) was an important part of our family for almost 10 years and we loved her and also miss her. If we can change what has happened, we definitely would.  All both families can do now is to be there for the children to ensure they know the family that truly loves and cares about them. It is and has been our family’s prayer that in time Veronica’s family finds forgiveness as we are so sorry for what happened.”

Comments (15)
  1. doctrine says:

    why he did it doesnt matter

    the fact is he violently murders another person in broad daylight in front of dozens of witnesses

    this man should be serving life without parole at the very least, lethal injections preferably

    and dont try that race stuff either. it doesnt matter in this case

  2. Mary M says:

    He was seen, has not denied murdering his wife. He planned it, stalked her with a weapon in hand, waited for his chance and acted. What is the problem. It is not as if he saw her, became enraged, and used a whatever just happened to be there as a weapon. This is absolute cold-blooded murder in every sense of the word. Was he sane? No. He knew what he was doing and he did it. Life with no chance of parole. He should live a long life knowing that he put himself in prison by his own actions. He is the only one to blame. It may take him a lifetime in prison to even be sorry.

  3. REAL JUSTICE says:

    This a text book case EXECUTE IMMEDIATELY. HE is a DEFICT . This person has nothing good to offer!

  4. Lisa says:

    Hacked another human being (the mother of his three y

  5. Perry says:

    He purposely and deliberatly slaughtered another human being in front of numerous people, anything less then the death penalty would be too good for him!!!

  6. Paul Eric Kilmon says:

    I would be happier if they gave him the death penalty.

  7. ShawntheRare DiamondCox says:

    I feel so sorry for his children and what they think of him now!!!! May his wife R.I.P due to his STUPIDITY now she can’t be a mother to his children and her kids are left here on this earth with neither mother nor father. SMH in shame for him. Sad, bad, mad man, he needs the TOP punishment and GOD will deal with him anyway.

    1. Dani says:

      Didn’t know how to leave a seperate message so I just hit reply…..just wanted to let those know who are concerned for the children that they are in VERY good hands, they are with the person Veronica asked them to be with if something ever happened to her (she felt it was going to happen). Please continue to keep my/Veronica’s family in your prayers. God is good!

      1. jmp says:

        As a victim of dom. violence and battery that I also felt I had no options…I am glad she was able to at least have friends and family to support her in taking good care of her children. Your kind heart and loving souls will be rewarded someday.

  8. Lena says:

    One thing to say! Death penalty…..

  9. Sheila Flanigan says:

    aw Is he crying. how can the courts be so mean lol after all he did was kill a human, orphan 3 children and hes upset because he got caught

  10. robin says:

    let us pray that the two families can come together for the kids,he will have a little taste of hell in prision,i.

    1. JIM says:


  11. 1uniquemonique says:

    Finally, people are getting some justice in Baltimore City. If Jessamy was still prosecutor, this conviction would have never happened!!! He won’t get death, because the person he killed was Black. I’m not sounding racist, but that’s just how the law is.

  12. Justice11 says:

    My niece did not have to die. This was not his first violent act to veronica, some of his family knew that he was abusing her, and said nothing, in fact sided with him, the children witness a great deal of abuse to there Mom , and told it. Also some in the police department sided with him. The officer that text-ed him and the officer that ” affectionately called him CJ” should serve time in prison as well. So don’t give anyone that lying song and dance you loved her. Look in the Bible for the definition of love. The children are with their Mom’s family who are loving and protecting them. They themselves will , at the proper time see family members that they choose to see, of there father’s family.

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