Conecuh man gets 20 years for manslaughter

Published 9:25 am Monday, April 11, 2011

A Conecuh County man will spend 20 years in prison for the death of a Brewton woman, a judge ruled Thursday.

Michael Williams was sentenced a month after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Donna Hall Smith. Williams, of Owassa, had also been indicted in the death of Smith’s husband, Dennis Smith, but the jury deadlocked on charges in that case.

“We’re glad we got a conviction, but at the same time, 20 years for two lives does not seem like enough,” said Shannon Odom, Dennis Smith’s brother.

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Odom said Williams’ attorney waived the right to appeal, which led District Attorney Tommy Chapman to agree to drop charges in Dennis Smith’s case.

Williams’ defense had argued that he acted in self-defense in the shootings, which occurred in November 2008, after the televised LSU-Alabama football game. Because witnesses initially said an argument over the game led to the shootings, the case gained national attention.

But family members said the argument was a long-standing dispute. The Smiths had traveled from Brewton to Williams’ home in Owassa, and after an argument, the shootings occurred.