A 20-year-old East Moline man was sentenced Friday to up to 25 years in prison for his role in a robbery and shooting that left Brady Tumlinson dead and his girlfriend seriously injured in September 2017.
During a short sentencing hearing, Darell Allen Williams Jr. read aloud a letter to Judge Mark Cleve and to Tumlinson’s mother, Kari, who sat in the courtroom gallery.
After reading the letters, he addressed her directly, saying he was embarrassed and ashamed by what happened that morning.
“You shouldn't be going through it at all,” he said, choking up. “You don't deserve it. Your son didn't deserve it. Nobody in life deserves this and I will honestly take it as a lesson learned.”
Williams pleaded guilty in July to first-degree burglary, a Class B felony. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dismissed charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony.
Prosecutors say Williams and co-defendants Tristin Alderman, 23; D'marithe Culbreath, 22; Nakita Wiseman, 23; and Christopher Dixon, 36, conspired to rob Tumlinson at his home in the 1300 block of South Nevada Avenue in Davenport.
Tumlinson and his girlfriend, Jacey Grubbs, were asleep in their bedroom early on Sept. 22, 2017, when the shooting began. Tumlinson shot back in self-defense and struck Culbreath in the forehead, according to prosecutors.
Tumlinson was pronounced dead at the scene later that morning. Grubbs suffered life-threatening injuries but survived.
Prosecutors say Alderman, a former friend of Tumlinson’s, recruited Wiseman and Dixon. Dixon then recruited Williams, his stepson, and Culbreath.
“This defendant was part of a group of people that for reasons that I'll never understand, led to the death of another person and frankly should have led to the death of a second,” Assistant Scott County Attorney Caleb Copley said at Williams’ sentencing.
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“Certainly Mr. Williams was not the mastermind behind this, but he was a willing participant, and certainly those actions have consequences. But at the end of the day, Mr. Williams is going to get a second chance, and that is not something that can be said for at least two of his co-defendants, and hopefully a third here in the next, in coming weeks.”
Wiliams said Friday that he became involved because Dixon, who formerly dated his mother and helped raise him, asked him for his help.
“I was trying to be loyal to somebody that I thought would never put me in harm’s way,” he said. “In the end, when I look back, I was manipulated.”
Williams said he never intended for Tumlinson, who he did not know, to be killed.
“I’m not going to make this mistake again,” he said.
Cleve sentenced Williams to up to 25 years in prison and ordered him to pay $150,000 “joint and several” with his co-defendants. There is no mandatory minimum that he has to serve before he is eligible for parole.
“This was an absolutely horrible crime, actually two horrible crimes,” the judge said. “I have listened carefully to what you've said. I do think that, based on what you said and what you've done so far, that you have shown that there is hope here and what you're going to need to do is to really just get real and continue being real with this thing and walk the walk.”
Cleve also sentenced Williams to up to 10 years in prison on a charge of first-degree theft in a separate case and ordered him to pay $1,360 in restitution to the victim. The sentence will run at the same time as the burglary sentence.
Alderman and Culbreath were convicted in December in Tumlinson's death and are serving life in prison without parole. Wiseman pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery and was sentenced in December to up to 35 years in prison. Williams and Dixon were charged in April.
Dixon had a bench trial in July on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and conspiracy. District Court Judge Henry Latham, who presided over the trial, has not yet announced his verdict in the case as of Friday morning.