Williams' verdict yields mixed emotions - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Williams' verdict yields mixed emotions

Judge Arthur Bennett calls it the hardest decision he's made in 30 years on the bench.

"And finds the defendant , Fred Williams, is not guilty," the judge read during court.

His decision was hard for family members of the victims to hear.

"All this for nothing!" said one victim's son.

"Where's my justice man?" asked another immediately following the decision.

They still live with events of March 8th, 2000. That's the day investigators say Fred Williams killed his wife, set fire to his home and fatally shot two firefighters and a sheriff's deputy.

"We lost our loved one we can never get back, my father's gone, for no reason," says William Blakemore Jr.

But even his defense team concedes--Williams will likely never be free due to his mental condition.

"If he doesn't improve, odds are he'll stay in a mental hospital the rest of his life," says attorney Gerald Skahan.

"If they ever say he's no longer dangerous, we'll have a hearing because that's going to be difficult to believe," says prosecutor Tom Henderson.

Family members say they want more than a "maybe."

"They believe--if they can guarantee--we don't know--all we know is we done lost," says Blakemore.

Lost loved ones...and now they say some faith in the justice system.

Fred Williams will now undergo a mandatory mental evaluation. He will remain in a state hospital if found to be mentally ill and dangerous. That's something both sides in this case fully expect.

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