Ex-Football Star Gets Eight Years In Robbery

Lorne Deandre Williams was a star fullback and outside linebacker.
Lorne Deandre Williams was a star fullback and outside linebacker. (2007 Photo By Mark Gail -- The Washington Post)
  Enlarge Photo     Buy Photo
By Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 17, 2008

A former high school football star in Charles County was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for robbing a pizza deliveryman at gunpoint last year.

Lorne Deandre Williams, 18, sobbed as he apologized to a courtroom full of family members, coaches and teammates. He asked Charles Circuit Court Judge Christopher Henderson for leniency, saying that he had just learned that his grandfather has lung cancer and that he wanted to spend time with him before he dies.

"I've lost a lot to this situation," Williams told the court, fighting back tears.

Two coaches, two family members and a high school teammate spoke on his behalf. Their pleas for leniency were accompanied by more than two dozen letters from friends, family members and employees at Henry E. Lackey High School.

According to his former coach, Williams was a star fullback and outside linebacker at the high school and had received recruiting letters from at least 12 colleges, including Brown University.

"If anybody deserves a second chance, it's him," said Douglas Lamb, Williams's football coach.

The prosecution painted a different picture of Williams, saying that despite his good grades and football talent, he brazenly robbed Paul Skelley, a Domino's deliveryman, at gunpoint in May 2007. Williams was convicted in March of armed robbery and related weapons counts for pointing a gun at Skelley and demanding his money and car keys.

"This was, 'Let me find a random citizen out there working in a residential neighborhood and use this gun,' " Deputy State's Attorney Jerome Spencer said, adding he did not know what Williams's motive was. "The fact that he has all these things going for him should not give him a pass."

Henderson seemed to agree.

"You have probably given up more as a defendant than any other defendant I have seen in the last 12 years," Henderson said.

He sentenced Williams to 20 years in prison, suspending all but eight. During the first five years, Williams will not be eligible for parole because of minimum sentencing laws.

Williams's relatives, who spoke on his behalf in court, declined to comment after the sentencing.

Williams faces trial next week in another armed robbery, which occurred a few weeks after the robbery of Skelley. According to charging documents, Williams's car was spotted in the area of the second robbery by Skelley, who had delivered a pizza to a neighboring home and thought he saw the vehicle of the man who had robbed him a few weeks earlier.

Skelley later identified Williams in a police photo lineup.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company