Lawrence man rejects plea deal that would have resolved 8 criminal cases

photo by: Kansas Department of Corrections

Casey L. Williams Jr.

A Lawrence man facing nearly 20 felony and misdemeanor charges spread over eight cases has rejected a plea deal with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office that would have resolved all of them.

Casey L. Williams Jr., 24, was scheduled to enter a guilty or no-contest plea to amended charges on Thursday, but he told the court he no longer wished to do so.

“I don’t want that on my record,” Williams said of the amended charges. “I’m innocent.”

Assistant District Attorney Samantha Wagner said that under the plea agreement, Williams would have been convicted of burglary, domestic battery and three counts of criminal threat. The agreement also would have recommended that Williams be sentenced to 36 months, or three years, in prison.

By rejecting the agreement, Williams will now face trials in all eight of the cases. The first trial is scheduled for Oct. 6.

The 19 charges spread out over the eight cases were filed between 2019 and 2021. According to charging documents provided to the Journal-World, some of the more serious charges included two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of burglary and one count of criminal possession of a firearm, which are all felonies. Williams is also facing several misdemeanor charges and felony drug charges.

Some of the charges stemmed from a reported shooting on Aug. 4, 2019, in an apartment complex near 24th Street and Ousdahl Road, the Journal-World previously reported. When police arrived, they found that a shooting likely did occur, but no one was injured as a result, Lawrence police spokesman Patrick Compton said at the time. However, Compton said one person was injured as a result of a physical altercation.

In another incident, Williams was accused of threatening someone with a gun in the 1900 block of East 19th Street on July 29, 2019, the Journal-World reported.

Prior to this string of cases, Williams served prison time for a 2016 conviction for attempted aggravated robbery.

Because of the prior conviction, Williams is considered to have a mid-level criminal history under the state’s sentencing guidelines, his attorney Branden Smith said. However, if Williams were to be convicted in the case that is scheduled for trial in October — which includes charges of burglary, theft and criminal damage to property — Smith said Williams would likely move into the guidelines for the highest criminal history level, meaning he would be facing the strongest penalties recommended under state law for the remaining cases.

Despite posting bond in all eight cases, Williams is currently in custody because he failed to appear in court for one of his cases. Smith asked Judge Kay Huff to set a lenient bond because he said Williams’ family was working to arrange behavioral health treatment for him.

Prior to setting the bond, Huff said that Williams’ main problem was not missing court. Rather, she said she was concerned about his history of being arrested on suspicion of new crimes while out on bond. She set an $8,000 cash or surety bond, which is twice the amount that his bond was originally set at before he missed court.

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