Mother outraged after gunman gets plea deal in ambush-style New Albany killing
Deante Williams took a plea deal for voluntary manslaughter in shooting death of Richard Cozart.
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- The gunman in an ambush-style killing in Floyd County last year was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Monday.
Deante Williams took a plea deal for voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of Richard Cozart in January 18, 2017.
Cozart's mother, Carla Shelton, says Williams got a slap on the wrist.
"It's a big smack in my face. There ain't no justice for my son. If they call this justice then they're full of $#%!," said Shelton.
Grief and rage spilled from the Floyd County courtroom, as Williams was sentenced. But he refused to say anything to the victim's family.
Williams was in a car at Erni Avenue and Fischer Drive in New Albany, when he fired a hail of bullets and hit 20-year-old Richard Cozart, as he sat in the back seat of a friend's car.
Shelton says her son was shot in the back and choked on his own blood. " I'm sorry I'm mad, I'm hurt and I'll never have my son back." She adds, "I hope Deante has to fight for his life every day he's in prison, and I hope it's hard."
Defense attorney Jennifer Culotta said Williams never wanted to kill Cozart. "There was never any intent to kill it was more of a reckless shooting to scare, shoot tires, scare somebody."
Williams said he was aiming for the driver and not Cozart, based on a prior argument.
Cozart also had a criminal history and was on probation at the time of his death. He'd struggled with drug addiction.
Prosecutor Keith Henderson claimed the state couldn't win a murder conviction, as key witnesses changed their stories.
"I believe our jury would have gotten a reckless homicide instruction, and we would have been maxed out at 6 years and that would have been unfortunate," said Henderson.
In the end, Williams pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, which means the 19-year-old could regain his freedom before age 40.
Shelton says she's bitter that her son's life was stolen, and she was robbed of justice.
"(Williams) He'll never get forgiveness from me. I don't care what happens to him because he didn't give a damn about my son."
Williams will have to serve two and a half years probation after his release from prison.
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