A 61-year-old Northwest Washington man pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court yesterday to second degree murder in the slaying two months ago of an eviction worker who was attempting to enter the man's house with deputy U.S. marshals.
Johnny Williams of 1529 Spring Place NW will be sentenced on July 27. He was charged with shooting to death Donald Granderson Jr., 24, of 2911 Seventh St. SE, with a single rifle blast March 30.
Granderson, an employe of the Arlington eviction company Inpersonam Service Inc., was attempting to remove the doorknob of the house under a court order to evict Williams for nonpayment of rent.
The bullet, fired from within the house, pierced the door and struck Granderson as the two deputy marshals looked on. Police surrounded the house shortly after the incident. Three hours later an occupant waved a white flag and Williams, his wife and son walked out.
Judge Tim Murphy declined a defense attorney's request to release Williams pending sentencing and ordered Williams held without bond.
Williams at the time of the incident was seven months away from retirement as a $300-a-week security guard at the Naval Medical Command in Bethesda.
According to police, he told authorities after the shooting: "They were going to put me and my family and property on the street. I've worked too long and too hard. I couldn't let that happen to me."
The Williamses had bought the row house on Spring Place in 1969 but fell upon financial difficulties and turned over title to the property last August to Rita A. Walker, president of RAW Associates, a local real estate firm, in exchange for the firm's agreement to pay the mortgage and some of the family's bills.
Under the arrangement, the Williamses rented the house from RAW for $300 a month. The family fell behind in the rent payments, and the company filed suit for possession of the property and obtained an eviction order.
Williams originally was charged with first degree murder, which carries a minimum term of 20 years in prison.
In exchange for his guilty plea, the charge was reduced to second degree murder, for which there is no mandatory minimum term.