ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Lee Williams, the Jamaica Queens man who was convicted of murdering a 62-year-old Valena Shepherd in January of 2020, was sentenced to 25 years to life behind bars Friday. The sentencing included some tense moments between the defendant and the judge.
Before announcing the sentencing, Judge Andra Ackerman was detailing Williams’ criminal history when the defendant began to interrupt, “Hold on, I’m speaking now, you’re done. Do not interrupt me,” she said.
After continuing, Ackerman went on to hand Williams the maximum possible sentence for his second-degree murder conviction, 25 years to life behind bars.
“You brutally bludgeoned to death an elderly woman, disabled, sweet, and innocent, in an attempt to get her money. You are a monster and you should never be allowed out of the correctional facility,” Ackerman said, adding that she would have sentenced him for a longer period of time if she was able to.
Friday’s sentencing also included emotional victim impact statements from members of Shepherd’s family, who outlined the enormous loss they’ve experienced.
Following that, Williams was given an opportunity to speak, which he took, speaking at length and continuing to claim he was innocent of the murder.
After Ackerman asked if he was finished speaking, Williams continued, quickly glancing back towards the family, “I apologize for your loss. But, I feel like it’s unfair that you’re sending an innocent man to jail for something that I didn’t do.”
When leaving the courtroom, Shepherd’s sister expressed gratitude to the Albany Police Department and District Attorney’s Office for their efforts, “My sister got justice. Thank you, thank all of you.”
As Williams left the courtroom, the tense environment continued, making remarks to the court, as well as the officers escorting him out.
Immediately following the sentencing, Williams’ defense attorney said he will be filing an appeal within 30 days.