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Waco man sentenced to 30 years in 2019 murder

Waco man sentenced to 30 years in 2019 murder

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A 23-year-old Waco man was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday in the Dec. 29, 2019, shooting death of a man outside a Gurley Lane apartment complex.

Donald Deshawn Palmer pleaded guilty to murder in the death of 28-year-old Eric Lavelle Williams, which police said followed an argument about a drug deal.

Donald Deshawn Palmer

Palmer

Palmer pleaded guilty in exchange for a 30-year plea offer from the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office, which 54th State District Judge Susan Kelly accepted. Palmer must be given credit for serving at least 15 years in prison before he can seek parole.

Palmer’s attorney, Brittany Lannen, said Thursday that Palmer was “genuinely remorseful for the things that happened that night.”

Palmer and Leonard Brown, 20, both were charged in Williams’ death. The case against Brown, who remains in jail, is pending.

According to arrest records, Williams was shot in the head during a fight outside the Costa Esmeralda Apartments, 1516 Gurley Lane. Brown and Palmer confronted Williams about a “marijuana transaction a few weeks prior,” according to arrest warrant affidavits.

Witnesses told police Brown and Palmer followed Williams back to the apartment complex in a car from a neighboring convenience store. Williams and Brown began to argue and Williams started to walk away, an arrest warrant affidavit states.

Brown pulled out a pistol, and Williams said, “You have a gun. What are you going to do with that? You going to shoot me?” according to records.

Williams then got into a car Brown was sitting in, and the two started to fight over the gun. Palmer also was involved, the affidavit states. Two shots were fired during the fight, police said.

Both Brown and Palmer fled the area after the shooting, the affidavit states. Williams’ body was found in the apartment complex parking lot, police said.

Detectives swabbed Brown’s hands for gunshot residue when he was questioned on the day of the shooting, and test results “were consistent” with someone who fired a weapon, according to the affidavit.

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