UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — A Maryland man could receive life in prison without the possibility of parole after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder in the deaths of his 6-year-old sister and two young extended family members in a home in 2017.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours on Thursday in Prince George’s County court to find Antonio Shareek Willams guilty of murder and three first-degree child abuse charges, according to State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy’s office. Sentencing is set for May 19.
Williams, now, 30, had been accused in the fatal stabbings of sister Nadiara Janae Withers, along with visiting cousins 6-year-old Ajayah Royale DeCree and 9-year-old Ariana Elizabeth DeCree, news outlets reported. Williams had earlier confessed to the stabbings, according to investigators.
“I’m just happy these three innocent lives got the justice they deserve,” Kenneth Withers, the father of Nadiara Withers, said after the verdict.
The children were in Williams’ care at the time of their deaths, according to authorities, with his mother working an overnight nursing shift.
Prosecutors argued at trial that Williams was annoyed that the girls were making noise and running up and down the stairs at the Clinton home.
He grabbed a knife from the kitchen, stabbed the girls multiple times in their bedroom and put the knife away, according to prosecutors. Williams’ mother found the girls that morning.
Williams cleaned up the scene and the knife, but investigators found enough DNA evidence to link him to the stabbings, according to prosecutors.
“They should be enjoying their lives, pursuing their dreams, yet they were killed by a family member,” Braveboy said.
The case took a long time because of turnover within Braveboy's office, a change in defense attorneys and pandemic-related delays, said Jonathan Church, a prosecutor who helped take the case to trial.