A technical school student in Oklahoma was left paralyzed from a 2017 attack after a classmate blamed him for interfering with his sex life, federal authorities say.
Now the attacker has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison, according to a June 24 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Jace Christian Williams, 23, of Miami, Oklahoma, must also serve three years of supervised release following the completion of his time in prison.
“In a cowardly attack, Mr. Williams blindsided and paralyzed a fellow student, then remorselessly bragged about his crime,” FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray said in the news release.
Authorities say Williams and the victim attended a vocational-technical school in Afton — and days prior to the attack, “Williams repeatedly expressed anger toward the victim because he felt the victim had interfered and ruined Williams’ chances of having a sexual encounter with two women.
“Williams went as far as to tell one student that he would to make sure the victim couldn’t ‘use his arms or legs for five months,’” authorities continued.
The defense attorney representing Williams did not immediately respond to a June 27 request for comment from McClatchy News, but in court records, he argues Williams and the victim agreed to a fight.
‘Intentional, violent attack’
On Nov. 3, 2017, officials say Williams and his classmate both showed up to watch an unrelated fight between two other men.
“While the victim and other students assembled in a circle waiting for the fight to begin, multiple witnesses from different vantage points saw Williams suddenly attack the victim from behind,” according to the news release. “In a maneuver similar to what is commonly referred to as a ‘suplex,’ Williams wrapped his arms around the victim’s body, lifted him backward and slammed him head-first onto the ground.”
Williams is accused of then punching the victim over and over in the back.
A witness called 911 and waited for help as Williams left with his driver, authorities said. The driver recalled Williams bragging about what he did and calling it “fun.”
The victim was taken to a Missouri hospital, where he was diagnosed with paralysis, according to the news release. He is now a quadriplegic.
A federal jury found Williams guilty of “maiming in Indian Country and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in Indian Country” earlier this year. Prosecutors argued for a 10-year prison sentence, more than double the time he was given.
“Jace Williams’ intentional, violent attack has forever changed the life of the victim in this case,” U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a statement. “His egregious actions are inexcusable. This type of criminal conduct cannot and will not be tolerated.”
‘A fight between boys’
In a sentencing memorandum written by Williams’ defense attorney, Williams was described as an “all-American boy” from Joplin, Missouri, and a member of the Miami tribe of Indians. At 19, he was studying diesel and auto mechanics at Northeast Vocational Technology Center.
Williams and the victim were “best friends,” according to the court record, but “that relationship was tested by a girl.”
Defense attorney John M. Dunn argues the two agreed to a fight after Williams was apparently told “there was a rumor circulating that he was going to have a threesome with (his girlfriend) and another girl.” He was told his friend started the rumor.
“Even if (for the sake of argument), the events occurred in a manner that leant themselves to an attack of (the victim) by Mr. Williams - it was still just a fight between boys,” Dunn wrote. “This was not a single act that was planned and intended from the beginning to break (the victim’s) back.”
In a response to this being called a “fight,” prosecutors submitted an interview from witnesses who said it was an attack, not a fight.
“I seen someone attack another person that didn’t have a chance to fight back,” the witness said.