She backed out of testifying against her boyfriend in a Norfolk murder case. Then he killed her.
Chasity Parker was too scared to testify against her boyfriend in one of two murder cases against him that fell apart.
Then Steven Taquan Williams murdered her.
Williams, 24, of the 1000 block of Norchester Ave., didn’t beat that charge. He was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison for gunning down Parker, 21, and stealing the gun he used to kill her.
He shot her at least six times on July 28, 2015, as she hid in a linen closet in the 3300 block of Kimball Terrace. She’d recently moved to her great-grandmother’s apartment to help take care of her.
Williams pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and three gun charges in September. In a separate case, he pleaded guilty to robbery and a gun charge. In exchange, prosecutor Charlotte Purkey agreed to cap his sentence at 50 years.
He’d been accused of killing twice before, but the charges were dropped.
Defense attorney Eric Korslund pushed for his client to spend 40 years in prison, but Circuit Judge Joseph Migliozzi sentenced him to the maximum under the plea deal in a courtroom packed with family of both Parker and Williams. About 30 people waited in the hallway, some sobbing, wailing and cursing.
The Sheriff’s Office beefed up security, with 10 deputies guarding the courtroom instead of the usual three.
“There’s a genuine need to remove you from society,” Migliozzi told Williams.
Parker’s mother, Tishara Parker, said the fact that he’ll spend most, if not all, of his life in prison is a poor trade for her daughter’s life. The eldest of four, Parker was soft-spoken, sweet and caring, “just an angel, a real-life angel,” her mother said. She’d finished her GED and was excited about starting a new job.
“It wasn’t enough,” Tishara Parker said of the sentence, “but I’m satisfied.”
Parker’s great-uncle, Leroy Pope, said he was overjoyed with Migliozzi’s decision. It would bring the family at least enough peace to move on.
Pope talked with Williams just a few minutes before he killed Parker, and he was the first one to find her in the closet.
He praised God when he saw his great-niece sitting there with her hands covering her mouth. He thought she was OK. He’d just heard gunshots, watched her angry ex-boyfriend storm downstairs and then raced up to check on her.
“Chas, talk. Talk to me, Chas,” he said.
Then he noticed an acorn-size hole in her forehead and touched her to see what happened.
“When I raised her head up, her hands fell apart. I mean literally fell apart,” he said Friday.
Parker was dying. Pope called to his mother, who was waiting downstairs. “Ma? Ma, don’t come up. … Don’t come up here,” he recounted for a judge at an October 2015 hearing.
Williams and Parker had dated for about seven years. According to court documents, they broke up earlier that July, and Parker had told Williams she was moving away.
The night she was killed, Williams went to Parker’s backyard, told Pope his phone was dead and asked whether he could go inside to see his ex, the great-uncle said at the 2015 hearing.
Williams told the older man he was upset. He said “Chasity was going to ‘make me hurt her,’” Pope recalled.
He took Williams aside and tried to calm him. It seemed to work. Williams apologized and admitted he sometimes went overboard. Then he took off. “I felt we really built on something,” Pope said.
Meanwhile, Parker and her great-grandmother were getting ready for bed, Martha Pope told prosecutors. Parker was sitting on an inside staircase, and Martha Pope walked into the kitchen.
That’s where bullets blasted in from the backyard.
Martha Pope watched Williams kick in her kitchen window and break into her house with a gun in his hand. She tried to beat Williams back with a cane as Parker ran upstairs. Williams ran after her.
“She was scared, and I was scared,” Martha Pope said during a hearing. “I just didn’t know what to do. … I couldn’t help her.”
Leroy Pope had heard the shots from outside.
“I couldn’t even count. It was just like one after another – just shot, shot, shot, shot,” he said.
He ran to his mother. She was near the front door. She was hollering.
“He’s killing my baby. He’s killing my baby.”
Leroy Pope went inside and heard two more shots. Williams rushed back down the stairs, and Pope wrapped his mother in a bear hug in case he tried to shoot them. But Williams bolted.
Two officers responded within two minutes of being hailed by a 911 dispatcher.
“They ran upstairs and saw Chasity in a bloody heap,” prosecutors said in court documents. She was still alive but gravely wounded.
She died before they could get her to a hospital.
Shooting Parker to death led to Williams’ third murder charge.
Police arrested him in 2013 because they suspected him of shooting 21-year-old Brandon Deshawn Brown to death. Two years later, and two months before he killed Parker, Williams was charged with gunning down Shakia Donte Anderson, 32.
Prosecutors dropped charges both times.
Police Cpl. David Benjamin said someone intimidated witnesses in each case. One of them was Parker, he said.
Williams’ grandmother, Carolyn, said she loved Parker, that she was family. She called her grandson’s crime one of passion and said he tells her he regrets killing Parker every day.
Parker’s younger sister, Cortisha, said that’s why the murder has broken her family. She watched their relationship from the start, grew up with Williams like a brother, even though he repeatedly threatened to kill her sister.
“He betrayed us,” she testified.
Before the judge sentenced him, Williams apologized to Parker’s family and asked them to forgive him. “I loved Chasity so much.”
Then he turned his attention to Migliozzi. “I am ready for whatever sentence you give me today because I’m going to be a man about it.”
The judge said Williams appeared unremorseful and hit him with the 50 years.
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