William Chase Johnson indicted on capital murder charge in death of former Lowndes County sheriff

Updated: Jan. 14, 2021 at 12:04 PM CST
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LOWNDES COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The suspect in the 2019 shooting death of Lowndes County Sheriff “Big John” Williams has been indicted on a capital murder charge.

Court records show William Chase Johnson, 19, was indicted on a single capital murder charge on Wednesday. According to the indictment, the grand jury found Johnson intentionally shot Williams while he was acting in his official capacity as sheriff.

The shooting happened on the night of Nov. 23, 2019. The sheriff responded to a Hayneville gas station, identified himself, and asked for the loud music coming from Johnson’s vehicle to be turned down, according to court records.

Johnson’s attorneys have argued Williams didn’t identify himself, he wasn’t wearing clothes identifying himself as law enforcement and his blue lights weren’t on when he was attempting to clear a gas station parking lot, prior to the incident involving Johnson. The State has said it can provide witnesses who dispute that.

Johnson, who was 18 at the time of the shooting, remains in the Elmore County Jail under no bond.

An arraignment date has been set for Jan. 29 at the Lowndes County Courthouse, which was renamed in the late sheriff’s memory in 2020.

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