SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Three men are on trial for the 2013 murder of a popular store manager in her south Fulton County home.
Pamela Williams, 43, was shot and killed while on the phone with 911. Prosecutors say Jonathan Banks, James Calhoun and James Sims broke into Williams’ home in the Amhurst Subdivision, found her hiding in a closet and shot her in the head.
Neighbors testified that they saw five young men running toward her home that night and later running away, but none of them could identify the men.
Monday, a security guard working in the neighborhood on the night of the shooting testified that he knew the defendants well.
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Jerry Link says he was on high alert the night Williams was killed because of a recent problem with burglaries. They had had more than 150 in their neighborhood alone.
He says while patrolling the neighborhood, he got to know the three suspects well, even breaking up a dice game they were having in the pavilion area of the neighborhood just a week before Williams’ death.
“I walked up on them, dice out, money out, and I just let them know, like I tell everybody, I’m going to talk to you this time. If you want to be disrespectful we'll go to another level, but basically I’m going to let you know this is not going to happen. Next time I’m going to call the police,” Link said.
Link says his previous encounters with them helped him identify them on the night of Williams’ death.
“I’ve been working in the neighborhood a while. I’ve had a lot of dealings,” he said.
Link says he saw Banks, Calhoun, Sims and another man running near her home that night. Prosecutors say Link had no idea the men had just murdered her.
He says earlier that night he noticed a group of men at Sims’ home. Some left in a car and others left on foot, Link said.
“I followed the ones on foot to see where they were going,” he said.
He says the car parked near Williams’ house but left, and shortly after, he saw the defendants running from near Williams’ home. Link says Banks turned and looked at him.
“I recognize him from like I said from the first Monday when I had the encounter with him at the playground area. I had seen him several other times in the neighborhood,” Link said.
Link says a fourth man was with them that night, but hasn’t been charged. The defense says their clients are innocent.
Who was Pamela Williams?
Williams was a beloved manager at the Target store on Camp Creek Parkway.
Channel 2’s Tom Jones, who has been covering the trial since the very beginning, said he’s learned a lot about Williams while sitting in the courtroom. Here is what he had to say:
“I've been covering the trial of 3 young men accused of murdering 43 year old Pamela Williams. She died hiding in her closet after police say the burglars broke into her home, found her hiding and on the phone with 911 and shot her in the head. There will be no protest for Pamela Williams.
Sitting in a trial you learn so much about the victims. Victims no one seems to care about other than their families, police and prosecutors. I learned Pamela Williams was a huge University of Alabama fan. She was killed moments after Auburn came back to beat her team in 2013 in a classic game won on a returned missed field goal.
I learned she donated a kidney to her sister. Even though her sister insisted she not make such a sacrifice. I learned she was an organ donor. I also learned her mother just got notification that someone just received her heart.
I learned in her job as manager at the Target on Camp Creek she became a mother figure to a young worker there. The young worker quit and took a job at Grady Hospital. I learned when Pamela Williams was wheeled into Grady, that young woman had the task of removing the clothing of a critically wounded patient. That patient was Pamela Williams, who would die soon after. The young woman's life will never be the same.
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Neither will Rashun Chaney's. He was the 911 operator who Pamela Williams reached as she hid in her closet and heard the intruders getting closer. He heard the fear in her voice. He heard her poodle Rocky barking madly. Then the barking stopped. He heard Pamela Williams scream a scream like he had never heard before. He heard a shot. Then silence. Except for the sounds of life leaving Pamela Williams. Traumatized, he ended his career as a 911 dispatcher. He now works in the parts department at an auto dealership.
I learned the young men accused of murdering Pamela Williams have burglarized homes before. The one accused of pulling the trigger was released from prison a couple of weeks before the murder of Pamela Williams.
I learned the men live- or lived-in the same community as Pamela Williams.
I also learned that Pamela Williams had attended a homeowners association meeting weeks before her murder. She had on her bed the night she was murdered notes from that meeting where she wrote about getting motion sensors for her home. Break-ins had been a big problem.
Finally, I learned Pamela Williams' mother feels guilty about her murder. She had visited her daughters for the Thanksgiving holiday in Atlanta and was on the way back to Mobile. She spoke to her daughter on her way back. Pamela Williams told her mother she didn't know she was returning so soon and said she loved her. A few hours later her mother got word she had been killed. She said she felt guilt, thinking if she had stayed longer her daughter would have been with her instead of at home in harm's way.
No parent should be saddled with such guilt. The blame should be tattooed right where it belongs: On the cold-hearted killers who chose to play executioner.
I will learn the accused killers' fate after a jury hears all the evidence. Hopefully I will also learn why this world is littered with humans who GIVE life-like Pamela Williams. And those who insist on TAKING it...and taking beautiful people like Pamela Williams. RIP.”
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