Road rage murderer sentenced to life
Isreal Williams previously convicted of killing Thomas Schadowsky in 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man convicted of second-degree murder in the road rage shooting death of a man after a confrontation at a Northside gas station last year was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.
Isreal Williams was also sentenced to 15 years in prison for shooting into an occupied vehicle and 15 years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Williams was convicted on the three charges last month.
Prosecutors said he killed 46-year-old Thomas Schadowsky as he was driving away from the confrontation at a Gate gas station on Dunn Avenue in February 2013.
IInvestigators said Williams, 43, admitted to getting into an argument with Schadowsky (pictured, right), whose body was found in his truck about 100 yards down the road.
Williams' defense team had pushed for a 28-year sentence, but the judge gave Williams the maximum.
"He deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars. He does. Because we will never see Tom again," said Schadowsky's widow, Rebecca Schadowsky. "He'll never be with us. He'll never make me laugh. He'll never be there anymore. And (Williams) shouldn't either. He should have to pay for his crime."
Rebecca Schadowsky took the stand Tuesday during the sentencing hearing to read an impact statement about how her husband's murder affected her life. She said it's caused health problems and led to the loss of a job, as well as health insurance. It's essentially been a downward spiral for her.
"We have to find a way to move forward and one of the first steps in doing that was forgiving Mr. Williams. And I do forgive him. Because that's what God would want me to do. And that's what I want to do," Rebecca Schadowsky said. "But he committed a horrible, unspeakable crime and took the most precious life."
A few co-workers spoke on Williams' behalf, but it wasn't enough to sway the judge for leniency.
"I'm very pleased, life plus 30 years," Rebecca Schadowsky. "It's what he deserved."
Williams did not speak during the sentencing hearing on the advice of his counsel, because he's appealing the guilty verdict. He also has 30 days to appeal the life sentence.
Road rage shooting trial
During the trial, Williams claimed another driver in a dark sedan is responsible for the killing, and that he was merely a witness to a road rage incident between the two.
Evidence released earlier this year by the State Attorney's Office includes the emotional 911 call from Joe Theiss, the man who found Thomas Schadowsky's body slumped over the wheel of his pickup truck.
Theiss testified during the trial.
Williams was questioned by police a few days after the killing, and according to detectives, he admitted to getting into a confrontation, then backing his orange Chevy Avalanche with Florida A&M University tags into a parking spot and waited for Thomas Schadowsky to leave the gas station. He said he followed behind him, but as Schadowsky pulled out, Williams said Schadowsky cut off a dark sedan.
"I don't know what happened. I didn't shoot nobody last night," Williams told investigators.
He said he drove off and didn't see what happened after that. Witnesses told police Williams and Thomas Schadowsky's cars were the only ones there.
Prosecutors said he drove to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Callahan and told them someone stole his license plates. They were replaced.
Williams later admitted to police he threw his tags into a Nassau County dumpster, among other things, because he was "done supporting his daughter" who went to FAMU.
The prosecution showed evidence of gun powder residue found inside Williams' car near the passenger door, but no gun was ever found.