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Long Prairie man receives more than a dozen years for manslaughter

Craig Williams

LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. — A Long Prairie man who was convicted of first degree manslaughter for fatally striking his ex-wife with a shoe hammer was sentenced to 12½ years in prison.

Craig Lamont Williams, 49, will serve the time at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility. During a hearing Wednesday, Feb. 1, Judge Douglas Anderson handed out the sentence, which is below the maximum penalty of 15 years, in Todd County District Court.

Williams received credit for the three years and 164 days he's spent behind bars while his case was prosecuted.

On Dec. 6, 2016, a Todd County jury found Williams guilty of committing manslaughter — intentionally causing the death of Nancy Elaine Williams in the heat of passion. The jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder.

The incident began on Aug. 22, 2013 when Williams called 911 requesting an ambulance for a "gunshot wound" at a home about six miles south of Long Prairie. During the call, Williams said he had shot Nancy Williams at their home.

When deputies arrived, they found Nancy, 58, dead. An autopsy showed that she died from multiple blows from a shoe hammer, not from gunshots.

During a five-day trial in Todd County District Court, Williams claimed he was acting in self defense and that his ex-wife attacked him with a cobbler's anvil, a knife and a fork during an argument about him having sex with Nancy's daughter. His attorney, Malcolm Whynott, described the events leading up to the shooting as a "brewing storm" between the couple.

The prosecution maintained that this was a case of "brutal, intentional murder" by Williams to end a dysfunctional relationship. Prosecutor Noah Cashman argued that Williams did not have marks or injuries on him and there were no signs of struggle in the house.

In addition to the prison sentence, Williams was ordered to pay $140 in fines and fees. He must also supply a DNA sample.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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