Local murderer dies two years after parole - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local murderer dies two years after parole

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A convicted murderer whose sentence was commuted by the governor has died.

Rasberry Williams of Waterloo was sentenced to life in prison in 1975, in connection to a 1974 murder. Governor Branstad commuted the life sentence in 2013 and Williams was released and given parole in 2014.

Williams shot and killed his neighbor at the time, Lester Givhan.

According to court records the two were arguing over a $30 gambling debt in front of George's Pool Hall when the shooting took place.

Williams claimed the murder was self-defense.

Leon Mosley and Williams worked together at John Deere at the time.

"No, I didn't think he would do it. I was shocked. We were all young. You know, young and dumb. He just got caught up in the moment," said Mosley.

 Williams was convicted and sentenced to life in prison at the age of 29.

"He regretted it, but he regretted it after he did it," said Mosley.

 It wasn't until Williams was 68 that he got a second chance.

 In 2014, Governor Branstad ordered a hearing to determine if Williams should be given a chance at parole.

 Mosley was one of many who supported Williams' release.

 "He had served his time. He was in a wheelchair, handicapped. Everything he was doing in there was positive," said Mosley.

 During his years in prison, Williams completed his education and mentored young inmates.

 An other major factor in his parole, Williams helped peacefully end an incident where another inmate took two guards hostage with a knife.

During the hearing the Givhan's family said they had forgiven Williams.

Rasberry Williams was 70 when he died last month.

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