Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A Baltimore judge hands down the maximum sentence to a man convicted of killing his wife outside a city courthouse. The victim’s family says it’s the justice they’ve waited for.
Gigi Barnett has more.
Two and a half years after fatally stabbing his wife outside a Baltimore courthouse, Cleaven Williams, 33, was sentenced to life behind bars.
For the victim’s family, it’s justice but not closure.
“It feels like a relief to not have to be here and not have to hear everything that’s going on during the criminal trial, to know that this part is over,” said Carlin Robinson, victim’s cousin.
In November 2008, Sky Eye Chopper 13 was over the eastern district courthouse. It’s where Williams stabbed his wife several times in the face and neck. She had just asked a judge for a protective order against Williams.
Inside the Mitchell Courthouse, the judge heard tearful pleas and descriptions from Veronica Grave Williams’ family and friends. They talked about how she suffered years of abuse in the relationship.
But the most powerful: Letters written from the couple’s three children, all telling the judge that they were afraid of their father and asking him to send Williams to jail.
“They want to know that he is going to be incarcerated for a long time,” Robinson said. “They want to be able to come on their own grounds, to be able to if they choose to see him.”
On Friday, Williams told the judge, ‘This is the darkest hour of my life. I’m truly sorry for taking someone that I can never get back.”
He went on to say: “I’ve exhausted the words ‘I’m sorry.’ I hope this tragedy can help someone to catch themselves before falling.”
While the victim’s family says it’s not enough remorse, Williams’ attorney says her client’s family wants healing.
“Now that this is over, the family can find some peace, and they can move on and raise those children to be healthy children,” said Melissa Phinn, Williams’ attorney.
The judge gave Williams a life sentence with a possibility of parole. The victim’s family had to ask the judge to make Williams serve his sentence at a prison outside of state, but the judge said he does not have the power to do that.
Williams told the judge that he needs help. The judge decided to recommend that Williams serve his sentence at Patuxent Institute, which has a mental health division.