BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – An Alabama jury convicted Tapero Carleone Johnson of capital murder in October and voted 10-2 to sentence him to death. During victim impact statements on Wednesday, the court, and the soon-to-be condemned murderer, heard words written by the victim, Stephen Williams, specifically addressing cop-haters who “wanted (him) dead.” Afterward, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Phil Seay sentenced the man to death.
On June 2, 2020, Johnson lured officers to a motel outside Birmingham where he ambushed and killed Sgt. Stephen Williams of the Moody Police Department, Law&Crime reported.
After Williams, 50, knocked on the motel room door, Johnson, 31, discharged more than 40 rounds, sending bullets flying through the door, ultimately killing the sergeant.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Williams served in the U.S. Air Force before launching his career in law enforcement. He served at four different police agencies for a total of 23 years, and was posthumously promoted to lieutenant.
During his spare time, Williams was a writer, compiling letters and poems. One of his “open letters” was read during the victim impact statement portion of Johnson’s sentencing, according to AL.com.
In a letter that was shared, Williams addressed anyone who wished to do him harm, something that became reality. The text of the letter, which seems somewhat providential, was posted by AL.com and included below:
Dear Sir / Ma’am,
I felt obliged to write to you since I know what you are contemplating. You hate me. For whatever reason you hate me and want me dead. Perhaps I arrested you and sent you away for a while. Maybe your lifestyle just cannot coexist with the idea of law and order.
Or is it you just have hate in your heart and feel emboldened by the recent swell of hatred in our country and think you be some kind of hero? I want you to know what your future holds should you decide to harm for any reason.
We are really only talking about two possible outcomes, death and life behind bars. The rest is just in the details. There is no escape. There is no freedom. There is no parade. You will not be a martyr for the cause.
They may think you are a hero in prison, but what they think doesn’t matter does it? You will still be either dead or in a cage. That doesn’t equal happily ever after.
According to authorities, Johnson called the Moody Police Department from a Super 8 motel room. Though he claimed four men were trying to break in, video revealed this never occurred.
Williams knocked on the door seeking to speak to Johnson, but he chose to fire 43 rounds from four different weapons, murdering the sergeant, prosecutors said.
The murder took place seven days after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as riots were erupting around the country and anger against law enforcement officers was fueled by anti-police activists, some politicians and celebrities, as well as gaslighting news broadcasts.
Though the ambush shooting occurred in the context of nationwide civil unrest, Johnson never gave a motive for murdering Williams.
During sentencing, however, Johnson claimed the shooting (all 43 rounds) was accidental and he apologized, according to AL.com.
Marquisha Tyson, who was in the motel room with Johnson, faces trial in March for her role in the ambush killing, Law&Crime reported.
Williams also wrote about his possible death in a poem that was shared at his funeral and included below: