May 13, 1992
In May 1992, 17-year old Williams was visiting his grandma in Houston. On the night of 13th of May, he had intended to take part in a drug deal with two men named Emmade Rasul and Adonius Collier.
Williams went with Vaal Guevara, Patrick Smith and Elaine Winn (all people whom he had met no more than a month prior) to buy crack cocaine from Adonius Collier and Emmade Rasul, whose girlfriend Stephanie Anderson was also at the scene. Apart from Stephanie Anderson, who was 14 at the time, Nanon Williams was the youngest of the group and the only one not from Houston.
Once the two groups had arrived, Guevara and Collier walked to the woods while Williams and Rasul stayed back to count the money. Soon after, gunshots were fired. Williams and Rasul both saw Guevara run out of the woods and into one of the vehicles in the parking lot. However, It was only until much later that Williams learned that Adonius Collier had been murdered that night.
Nanon Williams never spoke at his trial.
The prosecution alleged that Williams had shot Collier twice with his .25-caliber pistol and then a shotgun, despite no physical evidence of either weapon. The case instead relied on apparent ballistics evidence matching the bullet in Collier’s head to Williams’ gun (which has since been proven false) and witness testimony (many of who have since recanted) that Williams carried a concealed shotgun. Vaal Guevara’s testimony identified Nanon Williams as the person who had shot Adonius Collier, the only witness to do so at the trial. Guevara testified that he himself had not shot at Collier. However, it was later shown, that Guevara had lied on the stand and that he had in fact shot Collier in the head.
Prosecution also connected the murder to a robbery at the scene, making Williams eligible for capital life.
At trial in 1995, the jury found Williams guilty of capital murder and sentenced him to death at the age of 17.
Conviction and death row
Originally sentenced to death, Williams’ sentence was commuted to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in 2005 due to his status as a minor at the time of the crime.