Life is easy to get caught up in. This last Sunday my brother and I, from separate locations and both after a day of work had to drive to Jackson, MS to speak to the Parole Board. That isn’t something I ever envisioned myself doing but I did it. Jackson, MS is kind of the worst as far as I could tell from my less than 24 hours there. It was really just a sad, ugly sort of place and it smelled like urine much the way Decatur smells like cat food. I’ll not be back there if I can help it. I’ve never had to appear before such a panel before and I really didn’t know exactly what to expect. In case you missed this bit of my family drama, my father was murdered right before Carl was born and now I periodically get sucked into the never ending legal saga that has since ensued. This particular board was comprised of five older people. The youngest was probably no less than 45, the oldest may have been 70. I had prepared a statement which I didn’t end up needing, as well as all the paperwork I have on the man who murdered two people, my father and another woman almost three years ago. I printed pictures out in case I thought they weren’t understanding the loss of life. I printed articles from the paper at the time of the initial arrests because no one I talked to previously was familiar with the crime. None of that was needed. My brother and I had barely opened our mouths before we were reassured that Mr. Meeks won’t be getting out of prison until he goes to trial for murder. When that will happen is anyone’s guess but he has at least two more years to serve on his previous sentence.
It is a special sort of terrifying to me that this man, who murdered two people, stole upwards of $2000 and some property has yet to be tried for any of those crimes. The only reason he isn’t out on the streets to harass and harm others is a violation of parole. During this ill fated trip my debit card was hacked at a gas station. That pretty much sums it up.
This is the statement I prepared.
In January of 2015 my brother, an aspiring preacher at the time, and my sister who was trying to get on with a local manufacturing plant and I all got together and drove from our then home of Florence, AL to Corinth, MS. Our purpose that day was to pick up our father and take him for a nice lunch for his 50th birthday. Archie Wayne Williams, our dad, had lived a hard life and you could see it in the lines on his face, the teeth he was missing and even in the smile that he would frequently show you. He was tired, but not yet defeated by life in the way that some people get if life keeps knocking them down. Dad’s birthday was January 3 and in Corinth when he was born there was a lot of hope that he would be a New Years baby. He wasn’t a New Years baby but my Nana loved him just the same. It was on this day that we would meet Mr. Meeks for the first time. My father was living in a home that had been passed down in our family at this time and had generously offered to let Mr. Meeks stay with him there. It was my understanding that Mr. Meeks had just been in some trouble with the law and my dad was trying to give him a break. My father was no stranger to breaking laws. He spent most of his 20s and 30s doing just that so I believe he just wanted this young man to have a chance to learn from his mistakes and do better than he had himself.
My siblings and I spoke with Mr. Meeks that day and while none of us were happy with the arrangement there seemed to be little we could do to end it. We did discourage our father to end his ties with this man because we were worried about what might happen to an older man left to the whims of a young, strong, and possibility volatile housemate and eventually either through our persuasion or time Mr. Meeks seemed to fade from our conversations with dad. Barely three months later Mr. Meeks reentered our world in the worst possible way. April 4, 2015 is burned into my brain. I was nine months pregnant and excited about all the things going on in my life then. My husband had taken me to see a movie and I’d only had to get up once for a bathroom break which was a big deal at that stage. As we were leaving the movie theater I got a phone call from my brother. Fortunately, I was sitting down in the car when he had to relay to me that our father had been murdered.
My relationship with my father had never been easy, but we had moved past so many previous hurts that I couldn’t imagine my brother was serious. He had to be wrong. It felt like a nightmare. How could this happen? You never imagine that this will happen to someone you know. My dad had just started a relationship with a woman, the first serious relationship since my mom years earlier and they had barely been living together for two weeks. Once I recovered from my initial shock I had to relay the news to my sister. I pray that if anything ever happens to my mom it is peaceful and she gets to leave this life with dignity. My father was not afforded either of those things. His death was violent. His death was horrifying. He was shot in the head and left to rot for days before a friend found him and his girlfriend.
In the days that would follow we were introduced to so many new and fresh horrors that I couldn’t begin to relay them to you. Searching through the house where my father was murdered for any of his possessions. Finding his wallet with a dollar, an ID card, and some pictures from our childhood was so incredibly hard. Sitting down at a funeral home while my baby kicked inside me and discussing what options we could afford in terms of funerals. Knowing that we couldn’t afford all that dad might have wanted, even what we could afford was taken out of our meager savings and the rest we would spend months paying off. My siblings and I planned a memorial service which my brother preached the sermon for. Mr. Meeks was caught in Littleville, AL with a stolen vehicle and a gun that most likely was used to murder two people. We watched in horror as this story was plastered on every news outlet around, and when that faded into obscurity we have watched and waited for the day when Mr. Meeks will have to answer for the crimes he committed. My father gave Mr. Meeks a chance to do better, to be better and it cost him not only his life, but the life a woman he cared about. I ask that the state of Mississippi not give Mr. Meeks another chance to cause such irreparable harm.