A Forsyth County jury found a Greensboro man guilty of firing seven bullets into a Winston-Salem man, killing him, in the parking lot of an apartment complex more than two years ago and then trying to hire someone to kill the main eyewitness to the fatal shooting — the victim’s girlfriend.
William Anthony Brown, 30, of the 1900 block of Sheldon Road, was convicted late Thursday in Forsyth Superior Court of first-degree murder, one count of solicitation of first-degree murder and one count of attempted solicitation of first-degree murder. He also was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon. The jury, however, found Brown not guilty of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.
Brown was accused of driving from Greensboro to Winston-Salem on the night of March 10, 2017, going into Bethabara Pointe Circle, an apartment complex, and firing eight times at Jahmil Ismail Al-Amin, 25. A medical examiner testified during the trial that Al-Amin was hit seven times, with bullets going through several organs, including his heart, lungs and bowels.
The jury deliberated for about an hour and a half Wednesday and most of the day Thursday before announcing an unanimous verdict just before 4 p.m. Brown, wearing a light-blue suit, stood beside his attorney, Jason Crump, and hung his head when he heard the guilty verdicts. When he sat down, he buried his face in his hands momentarily. His mother cried. Another woman who came to support Brown walked out of the courtroom and was sobbing in the fifth-floor stairwell.
Judge David Hall of Forsyth Superior Court sentenced Brown to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the only sentence available besides death for a conviction of first-degree murder. Forsyth County prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty in this case. Prosecutors have to be able to find at least one of 11 aggravating circumstances in order to pursue the death penalty.
Hall handed down a separate sentence for the solicitation of first-degree murder charge — a minimum of eight years to a maximum of 10 years and eight months. All the other charges were consolidated into the life sentence.
This is the second time Brown has been tried for Al-Amin’s murder. The first time was in November 2018.
But Judge Brad Long of Forsyth Superior Court declared a mistrial after the jury foreman said the jury was hopelessly deadlocked at 9 to 3. Long did not ask which direction the jury was leaning.
At both trials, the main eyewitness testifying was Al-Amin’s girlfriend, Kayuana Talley.
On March 10, 2017, she said she, Al-Amin and others were upstairs in the two-story apartment at 703 Bethabara Pointe Circle, where they lived with one of Al-Amin’s friends. She said she was cooking chicken and rice in the downstairs kitchen.
Al-Amin had left the apartment to sell marijuana to someone in the apartment complex and to go to what was known as the “Candy House,” a place in the apartment complex where canned soda and other items were sold. Al-Amin was going to get a cigarette.
While he was gone, Talley said she was sitting on the arm of a couch in the downstairs part of the apartment when she saw a silver-colored car drive slowly by in the parking lot.
The car then turned around and came back, stopping between her car and another car. By that time, Al-Amin had gotten to the door of the apartment.
Someone called out, and he went toward the car. Talley said Al-Amin had a brief conversation.
That’s when she said she saw Brown, whom she knew as Skeme, pull out a gun and fire eight times at Al-Amin.
During the trial, Crump pointed out what he said were inconsistencies in Talley’s statement and told jurors that she wasn’t telling the truth.
Prosecutors also alleged that while awaiting trial in 2018 at the Forsyth County Jail, Brown got someone to pass a note to another inmate, where he said he needed “a rat taken care of.”
In July 2018, jail officials intercepted a letter addressed to a man named “Henry” that was inside an envelope addressed to Ray Inge Jr., a purported attorney who lived in Danville, Va.
No lawyer named Ray Inge Jr. was registered with the Virginia State Bar, according to search warrants.
In the letter, Brown wrote, “Fill up your tank, pull up, do it for real, get back on the highway,” according to search warrants. In another section, Brown wrote, “If you need a lighter, have my BM link you up with Kane.” The search warrants said the word “lighter” is another word for gun.
Hall described Brown as an extraordinarily bright man and hoped that he would use his time in prison to urge other young men not to make the same decisions he did.
“I don’t know what caused you to act in that way,” he said.