Jurors took just over two hours to convict Derrick McLaurence Williams, 32, of malice murder, felony murder and two counts of aggravated assault in the Dec. 5, 2012, death of Finesse Dawson, 33.
After beating and choking Dawson at their home on Old Spring Road, Williams fled the state. He was captured by U.S. Marshals on a Greyhound bus in Reno, Nev., on Dec. 12, 2012.
At the time of the killing, Williams was also on probation for prior acts of domestic violence against his wife.
Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael Scott Carlson, who prosecuted the case for the state along with Courtney Mays, told jurors Dawson had endured years of suffering at her husband’s hands. She had a tattoo on her leg that read: “Love Hurts … Derrick.”
“This was sustained cruelty,” Carlson told jurors in his closing argument. “Derrick Williams is just a man who will not take responsibility for his actions. … He’s a one-man war on women.”
Williams’s previous girlfriend also testified to the beatings and injuries he inflicted on her, and there was also evidence of attacks on another former girlfriend.
During the sentencing phase, Williams offered an apology to Dawson’s family and said he wished he “could take it all back.”
Cobb Superior Court Judge Reuben M. Green sentenced Williams to life in prison without the possibility of parole, which was required because Williams is a repeat offender.
But as Carlson suggested, Judge Green said he would have given the same sentence regardless, “given the gravity of the injuries, and the torture of his victim.”
Williams was represented by Marietta attorneys Jill Stahlman and Elizabeth Guerra.
The trial began Monday, March 24, with jury selection.