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‘Sick of a b—- trying me’: Man who killed son in fire and slit the mom’s throat gets max sentence

Larry Bernard Williams and Diamond Shelman with Jeremiah Shelman (WFLA screenshots)

Larry Bernard Williams and Diamond Shelman with Jeremiah Shelman (WFLA screenshots)

A 26-year-old man in Florida will spend the rest of his days behind bars for killing the 18-year-old mother of his child by slitting her throat, setting her house on fire, and letting their 8-month-old son die in the flames before blaming the horrific slayings on “the demon which takes over him.”

Manatee County Circuit Court Judge Frederick P. Mercurio on Friday handed down the maximum punishment to Larry Bernard Williams, sentencing him to two life sentences without the possibility of parole on two counts of first-degree murder in the 2017 deaths of Diamond Shelman and young Jeremiah Shelman, authorities announced.

The dual life sentences are to be served consecutively. Williams was also found guilty on one count of first-degree arson, but Judge Mercurio ordered the sentence for that charge to be deferred pending the completion of a pre-sentencing investigation report, court documents reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a press release from the Twelfth Circuit State Attorney’s Office, although Williams and Shelman shared a child together, the two were not a couple. At the time, Williams was living with another woman who was his girlfriend and with whom he also shared an infant child.

Based on evidence introduced at trial, authorities said that Williams and his girlfriend were in the process of breaking up “at least partially due to” Williams’ relationship with Shelman and the fact that he and Shelman shared a child. The messages showed that Williams promised his then-girlfriend that she would never again have to hear about Shelman and the child he shared with Shelman.

The animosity between Williams and Shelman continued to grow as Williams’ relationship with his then-girlfriend was deteriorating,

Prosecutors said that on August 22, 2017 — five days before the murders — Williams texted his girlfriend that she had better “make sure her tazor [sic] is charged real good.” When the woman responded that she was confused by the message, Williams wrote back that he was “sick of a b—- trying me now it’s on,” the release states. He also messaged his girlfriend to “look for that gas can.”

The woman had no reason to believe that Williams’ messages were “anything other than a rant” and could not have foretold what would happen less than a week later, prosecutors said.

“Five days later in the early morning hours of 8/27/17, [Williams] went to [Shelman’s] apartment armed with a gas can, stabbed her to death, spread gasoline throughout the apartment and on her, and lit it on fire to destroy the evidence,” the release states. “His 8 month-old baby died in the fire of smoke inhalation.”

Court documents state that Shelman was found face down on the floor of her bedroom. She had sustained multiple stab wounds to her torso and “her throat had been cut.” Their son was also located inside the bedroom.

After initially denying having anything to do with the murders, court documents state that Williams admitted to killing Shelman with a knife and provided details about the crime that had not been released to the public, including where to find the weapon.

“When asked for clarification into these admissions, the defendant stated he had been present when ‘The Demon which takes him over’ had stabbed Diamond Shelman and burned the apartment,” police wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

However, a man housed with Williams in jail testified at trial that Williams confessed that he committed the crimes and told investigators it was a demon. The other inmate further testified that Williams then asked him “if he thought they would buy the excuse and if it would work.”

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.