Michael Williams Sentenced in Arson Against R. Kelly Victim
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R. Kelly Associate Sentenced for Burning Family SUV of One of the Convicted Sex Trafficker’s Victims

R. Kelly appears in court

R. Kelly

A man who admitted to burning an SUV to silence a woman who was set to testify against since-convicted sexual abuser R. Kelly has been sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Michael Williams, 38, learned his fate on Wednesday in a Brooklyn federal courtroom. He had traveled down from his home city of Valdosta, Georgia, to Kissimmee, Florida, in order to set fire to a vehicle, thereby intimidating one of Kelly’s victims, prosecutors said. The incident occurred on On June 11, 2020.

Williams poured gasoline on a parked SUV leased by the woman’s father — outside of the home where the victim was staying. There were four adults including the victim at the residence, as well as two kids.

“The victim-witness’s mother called 911 and told the 911 operator that her grandchildren, whose cries can be heard in the background of the call, were in the home and they were unsure if it was safe to remain in the house given the fire risk outside,” prosecutors said. “The vehicle, leased by the victim’s father, was heavily damaged. Fire investigators also detected an accelerant along the outside perimeter of the residence. Williams had previously made internet searches about the detonation properties of fertilizer and diesel fuel, witness intimidation and witness tampering, and countries that do not have extradition agreements with the United States.”

The woman, who prosecutors identified as Jane Doe, was not at sentencing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez read a statement on her behalf.

“It is very unfortunate to see a man lose his freedom, however, the crime that was committed was not only vicious but disturbing,” she said, according to prosecutors. “My mental state deteriorated tremendously due to fear, invasion of privacy, and trauma among many other things. Because of your actions, I live in fear and have had to relocate my entire life. In that home were not only adults but animals and children under the age of 10. My family is traumatized and has been in distress due to this unlawful act. I hope this life-changing event gives you time to reflect on your actions.”

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a statement on Wednesday that Williams committed a “violent act designed to instill fear and stop a witness from testifying at trial” and “set fire to the victim’s vehicle in the middle of the night” outside of an occupied residence.

“Intimidating witnesses and threatening the safety of crime victims undermine the very fabric of our judicial system and will never be tolerated,” Peace said. “This Office will bring all of its resources to bear against those who commit dangerous acts of violence to silence victims and interfere with the administration of justice.”

Jurors in Brooklyn federal court found Kelly, 54, guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking in September. The singer used his wealth and power to sexually abuse women, girls, and boys, prosecutors said.

[R. Kelly via Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images]

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