- Associated Press - Thursday, January 5, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri prosecutor is requesting clemency for a man who was sentenced to 80 years in prison for a 1993 duplex burglary.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has asked outgoing Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to order Williams’ release, saying the request has the support of the initial prosecutor and a victim, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/2hVxjRU ).

Baker said in a news release it is her “desire to see him as a taxpayer and a contributor to his family.”

Prosecutors asked for a 20-year prison term when Williams was sentenced in 1994. The defense, citing the fact that no one was home during the burglaries and that none of Williams’ prior burglary and stealing convictions involved violence, asked for a sentence of five to seven years. But Senior Judge William Peters, who has since died, quadrupled the state’s request. According to the court transcript, he did not provide reasons for the sentence.

The prosecutor’s office news release said the 80-year term was only possible for about a year when second-degree burglary was listed as a dangerous felony. The most severe sentence for the conviction now would be seven years in prison.

“I cried and screamed and yelled,” Williams, now 46, recalled in a 2015 interview with The Star in which he insisted he was innocent. “And cried and screamed and yelled. You don’t know what else to do.”

Williams said in the interview that his faith has sustained him in his fight to be freed.

“I can’t do anything about the time I’ve served,” he told The Star. “I just want to get back to my children, my wife and my God.”

Nixon’s spokesman didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press. Republican Gov.-elect Eric Greitens will be sworn into office Monday.

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