CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A jury has found Montrez Williams guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two brothers who were shot and killed in west Charlotte three years ago.
Prior to the jury's announcement Wednesday morning, nearly a dozen Mecklenburg County sheriff's deputies were called into the courtroom around 11 a.m. to provide additional security.
Williams was escorted into the courtroom and he didn't appear nervous at all.
The jury announced its verdict at 11:25 a.m. finding Williams guilty on both counts of first-degree murder. He will automatically receive a life prison sentence which could be served concurrently or consecutively.
Following the verdict, the family of the victims, Josh Davis and Terry Long, quietly wept. Williams' mother also wiped away tears.
Once the decision was announced, Williams looked back at his mother. He shook his head and told her not to cry which made her weep even more. She eventually left the courtroom.
A short time later, the mother of the murdered brothers, Andrea Long, addressed the courtroom to thank the judge and the jury. She said she had been waiting for this day for three years, and that she is not the same person since her sons were killed.
Earlier this morning, both parties were warned by Judge Hugh Lewis not to cause any emotional outbursts once the verdict was announced.
The trial began a little more than a week ago on Tuesday, June 7.
During closing arguments on Tuesday, June 14, Defense Attorney Scott Gsell said Williams had a long-standing feud with brothers. Davis and Long were shot and killed outside the Arbor Glen Apartments in west Charlotte. He said Williams feared for his life after years of being beaten up and bullied.
Prosecutor Beth Greene said Williams made his own choices and brought a loaded gun to confront the brothers. She said if Williams was really afraid of the brothers, he would never have left the safety of his apartment when a friend spotted the pair at the apartment complex.
Both the prosecution and the defense rested their cases Monday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, the defense called the defendant's mother to the stand to testify. She cried and said her son was a "peacemaker" and that he would never shoot anyone in cold blood.
"I still can believe it," said Sarah Waldo, Williams' mother.
Jaqueline Booker was also called to testify. She was the apartment manager at the Arbor Glen apartments when the murders occurred.
Booker said the brothers had been banned from the complex for being troublemakers and she'd taken a BB gun from them one month before they were murdered.
The defense claims Williams shot the brothers in self-defense.
On Friday, June 10, a detective with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Williams confessed during interrogation that he shot the brothers because he was "scared for his life" and didn't know what they were going to do to him.
Williams claimed when he encountered the brothers on June 30, 2008, he didn't know if they were going to "jump" him. Williams says the teens didn't like him because they once asked him to be in their gang, and he told them "no."
The defense tried to paint Davis and Long as troublemakers who hung around with gangs.
Another detective who took the stand testified that the teens were not known gang members.
On Thursday, June 9, CMPD Detective Susan Manassah testified that Williams confessed to the murder when police interviewed him. Williams told them he was carrying the gun for protection, and came across the two brothers and two of their friends, Manassah said.
It was also on Thursday when the jurors were first shown the nearly five-hour video of Williams' testimony to police detectives. At first, Williams appeared reluctant to say anything during police questioning.
"What happened last night?" one CMPD detective asked during the interrogation session.
"I don't know what happened last night," Williams replied back to the detective.
For nearly three hours, Williams denied pulling the trigger and said he was sleeping at his father's house the night of the murder.
Eventually, Williams became emotional in the video, and confessed to shooting both brothers.
"I felt like my life was in danger, that's why I did it because they were walking around looking for me with a shotgun," Williams said. "I felt like they were going to kill me, that's why I did it."
The two CMPD officers who first responded to the shooting testified Wednesday, June 8, about what they observed at the crime scene. The officers said they patted down the bodies of both teens and didn't find any weapons.
Two pictures were shown in court which made the victims' family emotional. One picture showed both bodies covered up and the second picture showed the uncovered body of Terry Long.
The prosecution was trying to establish with the jury a chain of events which occurred the night the teens were killed.
A witness who was with the teens took the stand Wednesday afternoon and testified to hearing the gunshots the night of the murder.
In his statement to police three years ago, the witness told detectives that Williams shot the boys, but in court on Wednesday, he was hesitant to say this, and instead, said he didn't remember.
Prosecutor Beth Greene told the court the witness didn't want to be there because of 'street code' and didn't want to seem like a 'snitch.'
The mother of the murdered teens, Andrea Long, also took the stand Wednesday afternoon. She was extremely emotional and talked about how she felt when she learned her sons had been killed.
"Some monster just came and swiped them out of my life, it was too much to bare," said Long.
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