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Man convicted of killing Karen King looking for reduced sentence, family of King hopes he stays in prison

By James Felton, James Paxson

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    SAGINAW COUNTY, Michigan (WNEM) — Shytour Williams appeared in a Saginaw County courtroom Thursday where a judge will consider whether to reduce his life sentence for the killing of Karen King in 1997.

Williams’ legal team is trying to argue that the 40-year-old has served his time and is now a different person.

A prosecutor is making the case to keep Shytour Williams behind bars for life.

“The carjacking, kidnapping, rape and murder of Karen King was arguably the most brutal and infamous crime in a generation here in Saginaw County. We believe that a life without sentence is appropriate,” said a Saginaw County Prosecutor, Paul White.

The defense attorney argued that Williams has paid a price for the crimes he committed.

“He is ashamed, remorseful, and for the last 23 years in prison, well over half his life, he has been punished, he has been held accountable,” said attorney Sofia Nelson.

Nelson is seeking a 25-to-60-year sentence for her client.

“What we’re asking the judge to do is impose a sentence that will allow the parole board to consider Shytour for parole, and only parole him once the board is confident that they can do so safely,” Nelson said.

Nelson believes Williams, who was 15 when he took part in Karen King’s death, can be rehabilitated.

“The United States Supreme Court has told us they must be re-sentenced; they must be given hope of life outside of prison’s walls. So, I’m here to enforce the law,” Nelson said.

Nelson calls what happened to King horrible. Even though Shytour Williams was involved, Nelson said another man played a larger role.

“This was a crime that was thought out and executed by August Williams. August Williams will serve the rest of his life in prison for taking Karen King’s life. Shytour Williams was an aider and abettor. What he did was terrible, but he should not be held to the same standards as if he were an adult,” Nelson said.

Karen King’s father Greg, who said he just found out about the hearing Wednesday, is disappointed he has to see his daughter’s killer in court again.

“I guess I don’t understand it. You know he was convicted in a regular trial. I know the lawyer brought up that even the judge that preceded over it doesn’t think he should be paroled. They said they won’t take that into consideration, which I don’t understand either,” King said.

During the preceding, the defense called witnesses to support its notion that Williams is a changed man and is a low risk of committing such violent acts again. Testimony that fell on the deaf ears of this grieving father.

“My daughter is still buried. That’s the only place we can see her. I don’t get to touch her, I don’t get to talk to her, no Christmas, no birthdays, anything like that. We’ll never see her again; all we do is have pictures of her,” King said.

Karen King’s sister Sandy said Williams belongs in the same place he’s been for 23 years.

“I think he should stay where he’s at. He could be your neighbor someday. He’s a sex offender and a murderer,” Sandy King said.

The judge will make the decision if Williams will spend the rest of his life in prison on Jan. 10, 2022.

It is known as one of the most horrific crimes in Saginaw history and it took place on Jan. 3, 1997. King had gone to pick up items from a food store when she had a fateful encounter with two strangers.

August and Shytour Williams forced King into her car against her will. King went missing at 7:41 pm., police were dispatched at 7:46. and they arrived at 7:58.

A kidnapping call came in at 8:15. Patrols were alerted at 8:23 and found nothing at the scene.

King’s body would be found along the side of the road in the eastside of Saginaw. Investigators determined she had been stabbed with a screwdriver, raped, sodomized, and strangled.

August Williams, who was out on parole, and Shytour Williams who was 15 at the time were both arrested.

That is when authorities got a confession from Shytour Williams as he described what happened as the pair drove around with their victim. He said August forced him to go along with it.

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