Fedell Caffey and Jacqueline Williams decided they wanted to have a baby. On November 16, 1995, Debra Evans was fatally shot and stabbed in the presence of her young children: Samantha, age 10, Joshua, age 8, and Jordan, age 2.
Debra was nine months pregnant, and the baby that she was carrying, Elijah Evans, was carved from Debra’s womb with a pair of scissors. Little Samantha was also brutally murdered in the apartment with her mother because she could be a potential witness against Caffey and Williams. Joshua and Elijah were taken from the apartment, and Jordan (because he was only two and would not be a witness against them) was left alone in the apartment with his dead mother and sister.
The day after Debra’s and Samantha’s murders, police found Joshua’s dead body in an alley in Maywood. When police arrested Jacqueline Williams, she was holding Elijah, who was still alive.
Jacqueline Williams was found guilty on all charges and was sentenced to death on May 11th in 1998. In 2003, Governor George Ryan commuted the death sentences of all condemned inmates in Illinois to life in prison without parole.
In later trials, Jacqueline Williams’ boyfriend, Fedell Caffey, and cousin, Levern Ward, of Wheaton, also were found guilty. Williams and Caffey each received a death sentence. Ward, the biological father of Elijah and Jordan, was sentenced to life.
Jacqueline Williams, who has been locked up for 16 years, seeks to prove she is “a changed woman,” she wrote in her petition to have a judge reconsider her case.
“I am a very good person and feel I deserve to be back in society,” wrote Williams, 45, who also has filed a motion seeking executive clemency.
A DuPage County jury deliberated two hours in March 1998 before convicting Williams of the slayings of Debra Evans and her two children, as well as helping to cut the baby from Evans’ womb.
“It’s a plea to a judge from a prisoner who already got the break of her life,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said of Williams’ request. “She got a second chance when George Ryan commuted her death sentence to life.”
In a recent letter filed in court, Jacqueline Williams denied being in Evans’ apartment during the murders.
“I have lived every day in regret and if I could redo this, I would,” she wrote. “I understand my guilt and I am so truly remorseful. But I feel I have served enough time. I just want to be productive and be a blessing to kids and other women who are in a predicament like myself. I am guilty but not of all of this and I believe I deserve a second chance.”
Prosecutors said Jacqueline Williams faked her own pregnancy — complete with baby shower and a bogus birth certificate — in a plot to steal Evans’ baby.
Williams, formerly of Schaumburg, didn’t testify during her trial.
In recent letters, Williams asks to be reunited with her three adult children and six grandchildren.
The prisoner said she misses the little things, such as being able “to smell a flower” or enjoy “a hug from my family.” Williams has participated in prison classes such as dog grooming, cosmetology, restaurant management, anger management and Alcoholics Anonymous, she said.
Elijah and Jordan have been raised by their grandfather, Sam Evans, in rural southeastern Illinois.
Sam Evans said Jacqueline Williams doesn’t deserve a second chance.
“I think she’d say anything to get out of prison,” Evans said. “They are in for life and that doesn’t mean 10, 15 or 20 years. I’m sorry but they have already been tried and sentenced.”
It will be interesting to see exactly what ‘life’ does mean when it comes to Jacqueline Williams.