Killer of Delaware man in Yonkers in 2021 gets 25 years to life in prison

Eric Williams listened intently Friday as the mother of the man he killed on a Yonkers street two years ago detailed the too short life of her only son.

But he turned down the chance to show remorse and apologize to her. And acting state Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary likewise showed him no mercy, sending him to prison for 25 years to life for the murder of Jabree West on June 20, 2021.

West, 22, was killed with a single gunshot to the head just after 4:30 that morning on Bronx River Road near Yonkers Avenue.

Eric Williams, 24, in Westchester County Court Aug. 11, 2023, after acting state Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary sentenced him to 25 years to life in prison for the June 20, 2021, fatal shooting of Jabree West in Yonkers.

Williams was from the Bronx but like West was living in Delaware at the time. He and West came to New York together and hung out for a few days before the shooting.

Jurors at the trial two months ago convicted Williams of second-degree murder, rejecting Williams’ claim that a man he didn’t know had killed West after arriving to buy a gun from him.

While both men were members of the Eight Trey Crips gang, that affiliation had nothing to do with the killing.

Prosecutors emphasized that the shooting came after West had nodded off on a stoop and Williams had a lengthy text exchange with his girlfriend after reading texts on West’s phone about the extent of his own prior relationship with the same woman.

Ebony Mays, of New Castle, Del., bemoaned how her son had to die over something so petty.

Jabree West, of Wilmington, Del., was fatally shot in Yonkers on June 20, 2021

She summarized the “life of Jabree”, her firstborn, the first boy in years in her extended family and her first true love. “His smile always lit up a room, his laugh was infectious and his love was hard,” she said. During his teenage years they could butt heads and she was devastated that he had joined a gang, but she never stopped loving him or encouraging him to follow the straight and narrow.

She said he was gifted in art and had started a clothing line and “was truly on his way to bigger and better things.”

Mays said she no longer hated Williams as she first did when she saw his mugshot following his arrest six months after the killing. But she feels sorry for him. And she has forgiven him – not for him but for herself, because it is what God expects of her.

“I will not speak to you with anger. I will not badger you with hate. I will not curse you but what I will do is show you Christ,” she said. “Eric,what you did was wrong. It was evil. You took something so precious from me and I hope you understand.

Mays also read a victim impact statement from her mother. Andrea Bellamy recalled how West would always show her the latest dance crazes and she’d try them with him.

“When I got it right, he would say, ‘You go Mama’,” Bellamy wrote. “He always brightened up my day. He was such a loving, handsome you man which I loved so much.”

She told Williams the pain he has wrought is “so indescribable” and that he doesn’t deserve the privilege of ever again being a free man. “It’s unfair for you to take his life the way that you did because of your choices,” she wrote.

Assistant District Attorney Nadine Nagler sought the maximum sentence, calling the killing an execution as West slept and that the victim had no reason to be on guard after the two had spent the weekend together.

Williams, 24, disputed that he didn’t know West well, saying they had bonded a lot in Delaware and New York. He took issue with some of the arguments made at the trial by Nagler and Assistant District Attorney Adrian Murphy.

“A lot of the these things that have been pushed as facts by the prosecution are just complete lies,” he said.

But while he said he has thought about West a lot, he never apologized to Mays – and his lawyers suggested it was because he continues to maintain his innocence. When the judge suggested that there was a supporter of Williams who wrote a letter seeking leniency and that Williams was remorseful about West’s death, defense lawyer Lynda Visco said it was because he felt bad about bringing West to New York and not keeping him out of the situation that led to his killing.

She urged leniency for her client, calling him a “smart and charismatic” young man with strong family support and no criminal record

After Williams made several off-the-cuff remarks, saying he hadn’t prepared anything, Neary cut him off, suggesting he was rambling, and asked if he had anything to say relative to sentencing.

“Do you want to apologize to the family, do you want to ask the court for mercy, things like that? You don’t have to but that’s what I’m interested in hearing.”

Williams turned and conferred briefly with defense lawyer Jessica Hugel. He then sat mostly quietly, said “her grief” without saying anything about it and then smiled at the judge and said he was ready to be sentenced.

A graduation photo of murder victim Jabree West on the prosecution table in Westchester County Court during sentencing of his killer Eric Williams on Aug. 11, 2023.

Neary said the pain of both families in the case was palpable throughout the trial and that Williams’ refusal to take responsibility was a key factor in his imposing the maximum sentence.

“You offered testimony that was completely, in my mind, a fable of your creation that was disregarded by the jury,” the judge said. “That was an insult to the court and the jury.”


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