Woman Gets Life after Pleading Guilty in Killing of Ala. Police Officer

Feb. 28, 2024
Marquisha Tyson was initially charged with capital murder in the 2020 fatal shooting of Moody Police Lt. Stephen Williams, but she was sentenced to life as part of a plea deal.

The second suspect in the killing of Moody police Lt. Stephen Williams pleaded guilty Wednesday in the 2020 shooting at the Super 8 Motel.

Marquisha Tyson, 32, of Birmingham, was initially charged with capital murder. She pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder and, under the agreement, was sentenced her to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Tapero Carleone Johnson, 31, was convicted in October of capital murder after a trial and sentenced to death. Johnson was also from Birmingham.

St. Clair County District Attorney Lyle Harmon said the plea agreement was made with the blessings of Williams’ family and law enforcement officials.

“We are pleased to have been able to find justice for the Williams family”, Harmon said.

“The state was able to prove that the defendant Marquisha Tyson assisted Tapero Johnson in the intentional and brutal murder of Lt. Williams while he acted in the line of duty,’’ he said.

“Lt. Williams was a protector and hero to our community,’’ Harmon said. “He served a distinguished career, often in harm’s way, and sadly lost his life at the hands of two cold blooded murderers.”

Williams, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant, was killed June 2, 2020, while on duty.

He responded to a 911 call at the Super 8 Motel in Moody.

As he knocked on the door, he was immediately met with gunfire from inside the room. Forty-three rounds were fired at Williams through the wall and door of the motel, from four different weapons.

The shooting happened shortly before 9:30 p.m. that Tuesday at the Moody Parkway motel. Williams was the night-shift supervisor, and he and other officers responded to the motel.

A medical helicopter was sent for Williams, but the officer was instead taken by ambulance to UAB Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Both suspects were quickly taken into custody.

Williams, a 50-year-old father of three, had been a police officer for 23 years, the last three of those at the Moody Police Department. He began his law enforcement career at the Bessemer Police Department and then served the Alabaster Police Department.

He had just been promoted to sergeant in the year before his death and was a recipient of the Officer of the Year award in memory of Keith Turner, who was shot to death June 27, 1998, and was the last Moody officer killed in the line of duty.

Williams was born and raised in Mississippi and, after graduating from Mississippi State, served his county in the U.S. Air Force.

“In his short time with the City of Moody, he impacted the lives of not only many of the residents of the community, but those police officers that served with him,’’ according to his obituary.

“Stephen took pride in mentoring and teaching the young police officers entering on duty and took the time to impress on them not just the normal things a training officer may impart on a new officer, but how to see all members of the community in a way that is so important for a police officer, as real people. People who often at the lowest part of their lives deserved the compassion and respect of those who not only enforced the law, but those that tempered that enforcement with love for their fellow man.”

Nearly 1,000 mourners attended Williams’ funeral. His sons - both in the U.S. Coast Guard - had pinned his lieutenant bars on their father’s body, just as he pinned their bars on them when they were commissioned as officers.

“Our office is hopeful that this guilty plea and sentence will bring some degree peace to the family, law enforcement, and community,’’ Harmon said. “We ask the public to remember the Moody Police Department, the Williams family and all law enforcement in your prayers tonight.”

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