The West Virginia Supreme Court has unanimously denied a Morgantown man’s request to overturn his first-degree murder conviction stemming from a 2016 shooting in Charleston.
Antonio Carnell Williams II, 28, petitioned the court to revisit a 2017 decision that disqualified an attorney who was representing Williams.
But the court found no wrongdoing on Tuesday by the state or by Kanawha Circuit Court when it removed Williams’ attorney, Mark Plants, from the case.
A jury found Williams guilty of shooting and killing 20-year-old Shannon Cade while he sat at a kitchen table in a home in the 800 block of Mathews Avenue on New Year’s Day in 2016. A 14-year-old girl was also shot in the head, but later recovered.
Plants, a South Charleston attorney, was also representing Williams’ brother, Tequan Montek Pratt, 25, in an unrelated drug case at the time.
Additionally, Pratt was connected to the 2017 shootings of Jaylynn Stephenson and Rico Whiting. The two were walking with their infant child near Stadium Place — Stephenson was also pregnant at the time — when they were shot.
Stephenson was shot in her arms and legs, and Whiting was shot in his hand and leg, but both recovered. Stephenson, who was previously in an intimate relationship with Williams, testified for the state during Williams’ trial.
The court wrote in Tuesday’s decision that “Plants was on notice of the serious potential conflict created by his dual representation of Williams and Pratt,” and Plants gained privileged information on Pratt’s relation to the Williams’ case — that Pratt may be a state witness in Williams’ trial.
When Kanawha assistant prosecuting attorney Maryclaire Akers discovered Plants was also representing Pratt in April 2017, she filed a motion to disqualify Plants from the case. The motion was granted by the circuit court a few weeks later.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King sentenced Williams to life in prison with mercy in June 2019. King also sentenced Williams to between two and 10 years in prison for a malicious wounding conviction and five years in prison for a wanton endangerment conviction.
With credit for time served, Williams will be eligible to be considered for parole in about 25 years.
King sentenced Pratt, of Montgomery, to 10 years in prison for his role in the shooting of Stephenson and Whiting; also for bringing a gun onto a high school campus. He pleaded guilty in August 2019 on one count each of accessory after the fact and possessing a firearm on school property.
The two Charleston men involved in the Stadium Place shooting, Trashawn Dezour Mills and Marland Eugene Clark, previously pleaded guilty to other charges.
Mills pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder and one count of witness intimidation. King sentenced Mills to six to 30 years in prison in March 2018. The same month, King sentenced Clark to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.