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A tech school student in Oklahoma was paralyzed after a 2017 attack after a classmate accused him of interfering with his sex life, federal authorities say.
Now, the attacker has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison, according to a June 24 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Jace Christian Williams, 23, of Miami, Oklahoma, must also serve three years of probation at the end of his prison sentence.
“In a cowardly attack, Mr. Williams blinded and paralyzed a classmate and then boasted without remorse of his crime,” Oklahoma City FBI Special Agent Edward J. Gray said in a statement. the press release.
Authorities say Williams and the victim attended a vocational and technical school in Afton – and days before the attack, “Williams repeatedly expressed his anger towards the victim because he felt the victim had interfered and ruined Williams’ chances of having sex with two women.
“Williams went so far as to tell a student that he would make sure the victim couldn’t ‘use his arms or legs for five months,'” authorities continued.
The defense attorney representing Williams did not immediately respond to a June 27 request for comment from McClatchy News, but in court records he says Williams and the victim agreed to fight.
“Intentional and violent attack”
On Nov. 3, 2017, officials said Williams and his classmate both showed up to watch an unrelated fight between two other men.
“As the victim and other students gathered in a circle waiting for the fight to begin, multiple witnesses from different vantage points saw Williams suddenly attack the victim from behind,” according to the press release. “In a maneuver similar to what is commonly referred to as a ‘suplex’, Williams wrapped his arms around the victim’s body, lifted him backwards and threw him face-first onto the ground.”
Williams is accused of then punching the victim again and again in the back.
A witness called 911 and waited for help as Williams left with his driver, authorities said. The driver recalled Williams bragging about what he had done and calling it “fun”.
The victim was taken to a hospital in Missouri, where he was diagnosed with paralysis, according to the news release. He is now quadriplegic.
A federal jury found Williams guilty of “dismemberment in Indian Country and assault causing grievous bodily harm in Indian Country” earlier this year. Prosecutors pleaded for a 10-year prison sentence, more than double the sentence he received.
“The intentional and violent attack on Jace Williams forever changed the life of the victim in this case,” U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a statement. “His egregious actions are inexcusable. This type of criminal behavior cannot and will not be tolerated.
“A Fight Between Boys”
In a sentencing memorandum written by Williams’ defense attorney, Williams was described as an “all-American boy” from Joplin, Missouri, and a member of the Miami Indian tribe. At 19, he was studying diesel and auto mechanics at the Northeast Vocational Technology Center.
Williams and the victim were “best friends,” according to the court filing, but “that relationship was tested by a girl.”
Defense attorney John M. Dunn argues the pair agreed to fight after Williams was apparently told “there was a rumor going around that he was going to have a threesome with (his girlfriend) and another girl”. He was told that his friend started the rumour.
“Even though (for the sake of discussion) events happened in a way that lent itself to an attack on (the victim) by Mr Williams – it was still just a fight between boys”, wrote Dunn. “It was not a single act planned and intended from the start to break (the victim’s) back.”
In response to what is called a “brawl”, prosecutors submitted an interview of witnesses who said it was an attack, not a fight.
“I saw someone attack another person who didn’t have a chance to fight back,” the witness said.
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