The murder was senseless.
The sentence made sense.
The reaction? Not so much.
Douglas County District Judge Russell Bowie sentenced 18-year-old Daion Williams Wednesday to 70 to 80 years in prison for killing 20-year-old Bryant Morgan after a feud over a girlfriend both men shared.
Williams — who had apologized for the shooting — showed no reaction. But his loved ones were less subdued. A young man — reportedly Williams' brother — paced furiously in the hallway after the sentencing. He decried how long Williams will be in prison.
At that, one of Morgan's relatives told him: “He got what he got.”
That set off the man — and started a melee in the hallway.
“Let's go,” the man hollered as he pushed toward one of Morgan's relatives.
Some members of the two families then took turns jawing at one other. One Douglas County sheriff's deputy rushed into the middle of the melee — quickly pushing Williams' supporter to the wall. Meanwhile, about five Douglas County correctional officers — who just happened to be in court for a different sentencing — stepped in, separating the families in front of the elevators. Soon, more than a dozen sheriff's deputies descended on the fifth floor.
“It's been a while since we've had one of these,” an onlooker remarked.
It got worse. As the men postured, one of Williams' relatives moved his index finger and thumb into the shape of a gun.
“You're next,” he reportedly told one of Morgan's relatives. “I know where you live.”
Douglas County authorities were investigating the confrontation as a possible terroristic threat.
Morgan's mother, Pamela Spencer, decried the scene — and the shootings that have plagued the city.
Spencer said she and her children, including Morgan, moved from Chicago to Omaha to get away from this kind of gun violence.
Then Morgan started dating Alea Douglas — a 17-year-old girl who also had dated Williams. On Nov. 29, 2011, Morgan went to Douglas' home and found her in bed with Williams. The two exchanged words — and Morgan eventually went to sit in Douglas' enclosed porch.
Williams left but returned about an hour later. After briefly stopping in the house, he walked out the front door, turned around and fired several shots through the enclosed porch. Morgan was hit and killed.
Spencer remembered a son who, “like any 20-year-old,” loved women and parties. But he also was responsible, she said, helping take care of a younger brother who has multiple sclerosis. And he worked — as a drywaller and most recently at the Salvation Army.
Spencer told Williams in court that she doesn't hate him — and, in fact, prays for him. And she told reporters she wants the stupidity to stop.
“This big scene (outside the courtroom) doesn't make it no better,” she said. “It's nonsense.
“I hate that all of this had to happen, but I feel like a big burden was lifted off of my chest today. I can finally lay my baby down and put him to rest.”
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