Warning: extremely graphic content
A judge in Michigan did not hold back when issuing a sentence to a man who had recently pled no contest to several brutal crimes, including murder and assault. The judge told the man he should have committed suicide rather than harm others the way he did.
The details of the man's crimes are truly horrific. At around 4 a.m. on September 23, 2022, Arthur Williamson, 55, went to the home that his acquaintance Nicole Guertin shared with her longtime boyfriend, Jim Nicolai, and their two young children. Nicolai was an overnight news anchor on WWJ 950, an AM news and talk radio station for metro-Detroit, and while on air he was known as Jim Matthews.
Guertin later testified that she allowed Williamson, whom she referred to as "Smokey," to come over to her home in Chesterfield Township, about 35 miles north of Detroit, so that they could smoke crack and use heroin together. Nicolai was not yet home from work.
At some point in the evening, Williamson asked Guertin to engage in "role play," but Guertin refused. Her refusal reportedly enraged Williamson. He suddenly pulled out a knife and began slashing at her. He managed to restrain her physically before tying her up with zip ties.
Nicolai returned from work around 6 a.m. As soon as he entered the home, he greeted Williamson and then began screaming as Williamson bludgeoned him repeatedly with a hammer, Guertin said. In addition to the hammer, Williamson also attacked Nicolai with the knife, eventually slitting the man's throat and killing him.
After the attack on Nicolai, Guertin, whose wrists and ankles were still tied, remained helpless as she saw Williamson go after her children, who had been asleep. Williamson bound her 10-year-old son with duct tape and began striking him with a hammer, repeatedly yelling at the boy who was whimpering and begging Williamson to stop.
Then, to her horror, Guertin overheard Williamson lubricate himself before grabbing her 5-year-old daughter, who had been awakened by the noise, and then raping her. The little girl also noticed her father's lifeless body. "Is that my dad?" the girl reportedly asked Williamson. "Did you kill my dad?"
At some point, Guertin managed to free herself from her bonds. She grabbed hold of her daughter and ran out of the home and called for help. When police arrived, they discovered Williamson in the basement. He had suffered self-inflicted injuries and had also attempted to kill himself by overdosing on heroin. However, he was administered Narcan and taken to the hospital for treatment. He was later arrested.
Guertin had stab wounds all over her body, and her son was found in a closet "left for dead," though he survived as well.
About a month ago, Williamson pled no contest to one count of first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, and three counts of unlawful imprisonment.
Man charged with murder of WWJ anchor Jim Matthews, torture of family pleads guiltywww.youtube.com
At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, Macomb County Circuit Court Judge James Biernat excoriated Williamson for his vicious crimes and his indifference to human life. "You’re a pedophile, you’re a murderer, and you’re the embodiment of evil," Judge Biernat began. "The only thing that’s amazing is you didn’t kill all of them."
But Biernat still had more to say. "Try to commit suicide before you do any of this," the judge added, according to reports. "Take yourself out so you don’t kill people and try to rape 5-year-olds."
The death penalty is not legal in Michigan, so it was not even considered. Biernat therefore sentenced Williamson to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Williamson will now spend the rest of his days behind bars, but he is already very familiar with prison, as his life of crime began decades ago. He served time for a 2002 conviction for assault with the intent to commit murder, kidnapping, and several weapons charges. Then in 2013, he was convicted of breaking and entering as well as assaulting a police officer. He also has several drug convictions dating all the back to 1993.
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