Man sentenced to life in prison for 2016 murder

Oct 14, 2019

The Berkley man who brutally murdered 70-year-old John E. Williams II in 2016 was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday, October 11.

John Wittey, 73, was found guilty of first degree murder with extreme atrocity and cruelty and with deliberate premeditation, unlawful possession of two firearms in his home, and unlawful possession of a large capacity firearm or feeding device by a jury who deliberated for four and a half hours following the eight-day trial.

The case began on the morning of February 9, 2016, when someone called the police to request a welfare check on Williams at his Glen Charlie Road home. 

Police found the elderly man dead in a pool of blood, with obvious wounds to his body. A medical examiner confirmed that he was killed by ten gunshot wounds, and “sharp force injuries” to his torso, hands, and arms.

John Wittey was arrested three days after Williams was found.

Wittey murdered Williams after finding out about a relationship Williams had had with Wittey’s late girlfriend. The two men met through a shared interest in amateur radio.

Police said that evidence at Williams’ home, along with data from the GPS in Wittey’s car, placed him at the scene of the crime. At the scene, investigators found two live rounds of ammunition and six spent cases, belonging to a 9mm handgun, along with a partially-consumed bottle of beer. 

In a search of Wittey’s home, investigators found two handguns and multiple boxes of ammunition. One of the guns was matched to the crime scene, and the other had Williams’ blood on it. Investigators also found clothing with the victim’s blood on it.

At the time of his arrest, Wittey denied committing the crime, and said that he had driven to New Jersey on a “joy ride” after finding out about the relationship. However, GPS data showed he had been to Williams’ home three times on the night of February 8 and early morning of February 9. Blood was also found on his hands and truck.

During the trial, the prosecutor said that shortly after midnight, Wittey entered Williams’ residence, cut him on the hand and arm, stabbed him in the torso, and shot him 10 times. 

“We are grateful to the jurors for their careful attention to every detail of this case over the past two weeks,” DA Cruz said. “The picture that the evidence told was that John Williams, a father and grandfather, was assassinated by John Wittey. This was a brutal crime in which the defendant stabbed and shot Mr. Williams with two separate guns. We are gratified that justice was served today, and hope that this verdict can give Mr. Williams’ family some peace.” 

According to his obituary, Williams was the president of the Genesis Amateur Radio Society, a poker player, motorcycle enthusiast, and a member of the Brockton Flying Club. He was survived by several children and grandchildren.