#SOLVED: Wilmington man found guilty in 2016 murder of Wilmington teen
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After six years of waiting, a Wilmington family has some answers in a case that was unsolved for at least four years. A verdict was reached in the murder case of 14-year-old Aljhean Williams, six years after he was killed.
The family shed tears in the courtroom, when the jury returned with a guilty verdict for 25-year-old Cedric Burnett, who was facing first degree murder charges in the death of Aljhean Williams.
“I felt liberated, –liberated. I felt free, I didn’t feel like I was caged in,” said Portia Williams, Aljhean Williams’ mother.
Aljhean Williams mother, Portia Williams shared her thoughts following the guilty verdict for 25-year-old Cedric Burnett for first degree murder of her son Aljhean.
In 2020, police arrested and charged Cedric Burnett in connection with Williams’ death.
“I’ve waited, waited, waited patiently. Praying, and just depending on the justice system, which I know that it was going to –all of this was going to come to pass,” said Portia Williams.
Aljhean Williams was shot and killed in 2016 while walking home, near the corner of Emory Street and Stewart Circle in the Creekwood neighborhood.
The trial began April 4, with the verdict coming around noon on Thursday. Following the verdict, Burnett was sentenced to life without parole.
District Attorney Ben David commended Williams’ family for their trust in the justice system.
“I had the pleasure of shaking his hand as a 6th grader walking into D.C. Virgo. It broke my heart, when I heard that 2 years later in January of 2016, he was taken by a crime of violence for simply being a young man in the wrong place at the wrong time. We committed at that very moment, that we were going to be getting justice for him,” said Ben David, New Hanover County District Attorney.
His family described Aljhean as a young teen with a bright smile, a strong love for basketball, and a loving spirit, and that although there is a verdict, the family is still healing.
” I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me. Like I stated before, the journey, the path for healing, –I feel like it’s just beginning. No mother wants to sit through all of this, or lose a child, and it’s been very, very, hard,” Williams.
“The results speak for themselves. We can talk all we want, the jury did that today, and what they said resoundingly, unanimously, is this is the worst crime under the law and the judge gave the only sentence prescribed by it, which is life without possibility of parole for a young man who was a teenager at the time of this crime,” said David.
Williams’ family and District Attorney Ben David are encouraging people in the community to report incidents of crime and rely on the justice system, and not retaliate with violence.