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Forced accomplice asks parole board to deny release of convicted killer James Williams III

Cindy Lassiter Mangum Williams holding her son, Zeno, was killed by James Williams III in 2001 (Photo courtesy of Zeno Mangum)

The forced accomplice alongside James Williams III in the 2001 murder of Williams’ stepmother and father has stepped forward to protest the parole board’s release of the convicted killer.

Adam White, who was 15 at the time of the murders and forced by Williams to help hide the bodies, provided the following statement to SuperTalk Mississippi Media when asked to join Monday’s edition of The Gallo Show.

“Thank you for allowing me the chance to speak. I cannot begin to explain the outrage and disappointment that I have experienced over the past few weeks and how it has affected me and my family.

The events that took place changed my life and ended what childhood I had left, not to mention how it has affected my life since. I lost friends, family, and was even forced to move. I cannot begin to describe how it affected my mental health. I’ve worked hard to better my life, but even in recent years, I have lost opportunities to provide for my family because of something so terrible that happened and I didn’t have a choice in it.

My first thought is how we ended up here in the first place. There are so many factors in this case that emphasize just how much of a danger to society James can be. I think that this is a tragedy, that what he did to James and Cynthia, their family members, me, and my family, that parole could even be considered.

As many people would agree, he has not even served the minimum for one sentence. Does the other life that he took not even matter? I also believe that if he were truly sorry and is now living by the word of God, he would have reached out to someone to apologize, but to my knowledge, there has never been that attempt.

That fact alone leads me to believe that he has not changed and has just done what is needed to be paroled. How can you get by with telling everyone else that you are sorry but not actually telling the victims that you hurt that you are sorry?

Also, I am concerned for my family’s safety. I helped put him away, so what would stop him from coming after my family if he wanted to? What is the state of Mississippi going to do about protecting my family? He may have changed for the better, but what if he hasn’t? The “if” is not something my family is comfortable with.

My wife has written letters to the parole board and the governor’s office letting them know our concerns, but just like everyone else, we haven’t gotten a response. This is an injustice to everyone whose lives were affected and to James and Cynthia, who did not get a second chance.”

Ahead of his scheduled release date, Williams has served approximately two decades for the murders of James Williams, Jr., and Cindy Lassiter Mangum Williams. According to evidence presented in court, Williams – who was just three months away from turning 18 at the time – shot his father nine times before shooting his stepmother in the face.

Williams then brought White to the scene of the incident and threatened to shoot him if he did not help dispose of the bodies. The two teenagers subsequently transported the bodies to a wooded area near Shiloh Park in Brandon in trash bags containing Rubbermaid containers.

White eventually told police the locations of the bodies after being taken in for questioning, aiding in the discovery of James and Cindy a week after the murders occurred.

Four years later, Williams was sentenced to serve two life sentences in prison without possibility of parole for the two murders.

In 2012, after Williams had been incarcerated for eight years, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that any sentencing of individuals under 18 to life without parole is a violation of the Eighth Amendment, giving Williams a chance to be eligible for parole.

As a result, the Mississippi Parole Board approved Williams for parole in early April, stating that they believe Williams “is able to be a law-abiding citizen and that parole supervision will be more beneficial than further incarceration.”

The board added that the decision came after the family missed a recent hearing earlier this month — even though family members claim to have never received a notification on the meeting — as well as Williams’ undergoing of a “moral rehabilitation” through his attainment of a GED and his work as a Christian minister.

On April 25, Williams’ family spoke directly with the parole board over a conference call, stating their disapproval of the decision to release Williams. According to the family, only two board members spoke during the duration of the call and has not given any further update on the double murderer’s release.

Neither Chairman Jeffery Belk nor Governor Tate Reeves have responded to requests for comment.

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