Shooting trial set for Spring

Photo courtesy of Calloway County Jail

Story by Ashley Traylor, News Editor 

The soldier accused of shooting a former Murray State football player made an appearance on Monday in a Calloway County courtroom.

Monyea Williams, 21, was arrested by U.S. Marshals on April 18 for the February shooting of former wide receiver Kendarian Jennings.

Williams is a private first class in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where he was arrested.

Nine days later, he was extradited to the Calloway County Jail.

Monday’s court appearance was a status hearing, which is an effort to resolve the case without going to trial.

Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship said the prosecutor offered Williams a 15-year sentence, of which he would be required to serve 85 percent. After that time, he could ask for a parole hearing to determine if he would be released from prison under supervision for the remainder of his sentence. However, Williams rejected the plea deal.

As of now, Williams will remain in the Calloway County Jail. Blankenship said the defense is filing a motion to reduce the bond amount. According to the Calloway County Jail website, the bond is currently set at $200,000.

Blankenship said the prosecution considers Williams to be a flight risk because he does not have any known ties to Murray.

“It’s a big ol’e country, and you can just get lost in this country,” he said. “We’ve dealt with that problem before.”

If a judge agrees to release Williams from jail on bond, he will be under supervision until the trial begins. The trial could possibly take place at a military base.

“They’re typically very large camps because of their exercises,” Blankenship said. “It would be very easy for a man to disappear.”

Williams is facing a felony assault charge, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence if convicted.

Jennings was shot in the back and neck and airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he underwent emergency surgery and a second surgery to remove the bullets from his head.  

Jennings identified Williams while he was still in the hospital. Blankenship said police waited for Jennings to mentally recover and then presented him with photos of six possible suspects.

“There was no hesitation in identifying Williams,” Blankenship said.

Williams’ trial date is set for Spring 2018.