After hearing from friends and family members of both the accused and the victim, Holly Threadgill was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the death of Dallas Williams III.
Threadgill, 33, of 1592 Pratt Road, Walton County, will serve 10 years for the involuntary manslaughter charge, reduced from felony murder after she pleaded guilty to the crime last week.
Threadgill will also have to serve 15 years of probation for charges of cruelty to children and possession of a firearm in the use of a felony following her release from prison.
Threadgill reportedly got into an argument with her boyfriend, Williams, 23, of Loganville, the night of March 18, 2011, about her possible divorce from her husband and, when the dispute became heated, she went and retrieved a gun from her father’s bedroom. Both she and the victim reportedly consumed both alcohol and Xanax.
Threadgill’s defense claimed she was unaware the .38-caliber pistol was loaded. Her attorneys said Threadgill meant to scare Williams, but in an ensuing scuffle for the weapon, the firearm went off, hitting Williams in the chest and killing him.
As part of the plea bargain, an initial charge of felony murder was reduced to involuntary manslaughter, while charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during an assault were dropped due to lack of evidence. Threadgill’s young child was in the house at the time, leading to the cruelty to children charge.
The sentence was approved by many in the courtroom, who begged the judge to hand down the maximum sentence for the crime. Jill Nicholson, Threadgill’s mother-in-law and grandmother of the child who reportedly witnessed the crime, said her granddaughter still had nightmares about the shooting.
“She definitely remembers what happened,” Nicholson said. “It will forever be etched in her heart and her mind. Hearing certain sounds may trigger memories of that night. She struggles for a continued need to just feel safe.”
Nicholson asked Judge Ken Wynne to sentence Threadgill to the maximum sentence.
“There is no room for reconciliation between her and her mother,” Nicholson said. “Put a safe distance between them.”
Others also begged for punishment, such as Jamie Edwards, who spoke of Williams’ son.
“He will never hear the words, ‘That’s my boy,’ from his father,” Edwards said. “How do we explain that his father was taken from him in the blink of an eye?”
Williams was called a “gentle giant” by his family, a loving father who was taken too soon.
“Holly made a bad decision that night — a decision that was not hers to make,” said Angela Phee, Williams’ aunt. “I beg you for the maximum.”
William’s grandmother Martha Baldwin wept as she mourned her boy in court.
“There is a void in our lives time will never erase,” Baldwin said. “My life changed and nothing will ever be the same.”
Williams’ mother, Sharon Hatcher, said she hadn’t been able to mourn.
“I haven’t had the strength to grieve,” Hatcher said. “Every time I close my eyes I see him lying on the floor.”
Threadgill apologized to everyone in the court before she was sentenced.
“I want to say I am so sorry to everyone involved,” Threadgill said. “I accept full responsibility. I loved Dallas very much and I miss him.”