A Millbrook woman who admitted shooting her uncle was found not guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter last week in an Elmore County courtroom.
Sheneika Oliver admitted to police just hours after the death of Kenny Williams she shot her uncle at The Pit Stop in Millbrook Sept. 4, 2017. From the beginning, Oliver claimed self-defense and turned herself in hours after the shooting but the state argued otherwise and charged her with murder.
Oliver was found not guilty after four hours of deliberation by a jury of eight white males, two white females and two black females.
Many family members said they witnessed an argument between the victim and defendant at a home they were sharing with family moments before the shooting at the nearby convenience store.
Gladys Williams, who was married to Kenny Williams for 18 years, testified for the state about the argument Oliver and her husband had.
“They exchanged words,” Williams said. “They argued back and forth. I saw her pull a gun. I didn’t see Kenny pull a gun. Kenny went into the house and came back out.”
Patrice Gray, who said she was a first cousin of Williams and is a second cousin of Oliver, told a similar story.
“They were arguing over Kenny’s grandkids,” Gray told the jury. “They were standing in front of one another. She pulled a gun in the argument. She pointed it at him. Kenny ran into the house to get his gun. He came back out the door with his gun and pushed her down.”
Gray testified she tried to stop the argument.
“I came in the middle of them,” Gray said. “I took his gun from him and gave it to Rodney (another man at the scene). He did not have it when he left for work.”
Gladys Williams testified her husband stopped by The Pit Stop almost every day on the way to work at Hyundai and he purchased cigarettes, snacks and gas. She also testified Ricky Crosby rode with him most days as he also worked at Hyundai.
Crosby testified he grew up with Williams and knew Oliver’s mother and grandmother. Crosby told the jury he was walking to the home to catch a ride with Williams to work and saw a crowd gathered at the home with an argument going on.
“I got over there seeing him and her arguing,” Crosby said. “I remember someone saying (Oliver) has a gun, but I never saw it.”
Crosby said he walked away from the scene but returned when Oliver left.
“After this, I saw her car leave,” Crosby testified. “I went back and said, ‘Kenny, let’s go.’”
Crosby told the jury he and the victim stopped by the store pretty much every day getting gas, cigarettes and snacks for work. He stated they did the same thing on the Sunday evening Williams was shot and saw Oliver as they pulled in.
“We pulled up to the gas station,” Crosby said. “We saw her at the gas pump. I told Kenny to leave that girl alone … he jumped out of the car and run up to her. He spit in her face.”
Crosby said he could hear Oliver but not Williams in the altercation at The Pit Stop.
“’You done spit in my face,’” Crosby said he heard Oliver tell Williams. “He turned around and started to go back to her.”
Crosby told the jury he didn’t see Williams with a gun but did not know if he had one or not. He said he didn’t see Williams reach for anything but said Williams’ back was to him in the altercation and it was customary for Williams to have a gun in the vehicle with him.
“I didn’t see him have no gun, but he could have had something,” Crosby said.
Crosby said after Williams was shot he saw Williams holding his chest, dropping to his knees and Oliver drove off before a “whole bunch of people started to pull up.”
Tray Richardson represented Oliver and asked about Williams’ demeanor.
“I never heard him talk like that,” Crosby said.
Cpl. Joshua Bonner was called by the state. Bonner said on the stand Oliver turned herself in to him at the Millbrook Police Department.
“She advised me she shot her uncle,” Bonner said. “She advised me (the firearm) was in her vehicle.”
Under cross-examination, Bonner said Oliver was cooperative and not hostile when she turned herself in just hours after the incident.
Judge Bill Lewis dismissed one juror before the second day of the trial when it was discovered the juror made contact with the victim’s wife after her testimony on the first day.
Oliver’s father Joseph Williams, who is a brother of the victim, testified on the second day of the trial to being at the scene of the first argument. Joseph Williams is also known as “Shorty.”
“He (Williams) came up and said something to her,” Joseph Williams said from the stand. “I didn’t see no gun. He went inside the house and got a gun. He came out and pushed her down … he drawed it and said, ‘If you weren’t Shorty’s daughter I would kill you.’ He was mad.”
Joseph Williams said he helped separate the two.
“Me and my mother stepped between them,” Joseph Williams said. “My mama asked her to leave.”
Tabitha Williams, the victim’s sister, testified she would often cook at the house, the family would have get-togethers and was inside while during the argument.
“We was having a cookout,” Tabitha Williams said while holding back tears. “It was all blown out of proportion … I never saw a gun. I just heard the hollering, ‘She got a gun! She got a gun!’ but I never saw it … He went into the house and got his gun. He mugged (pushed her down). He cocked it and pointed it at her.”
Many of the witnesses testified Oliver often carried a gun in her front right pocket.
Oliver spent breaks in the trial pacing outside in the sunlight, talking to her parents and sitting at the defense table praying.
Oliver took the stand in her defense as the last witness in front of Judge Lewis and explained to the jury what transpired on the Sunday before Labor Day 2017. She said she had just gotten off work, had changed clothes and read some before going to another family gathering prior to the encounter with Kenny Williams.
“I saw Uncle Kenny talking to his kids,” Oliver testified. “He came up to me and pushed me down … he shoved me in my face.”
Oliver said Kenny Williams didn’t pull a gun on her at this moment but went in the house.
“He came back out,” she testified. “He had a gun, pointed it at me, cocked it and pushed me down again. I was scared, terrified.”
Oliver said she remembered her father helping her up, deciding to go to friends in Montgomery and going to The Pit Stop, the only stop between the home and Montgomery.
“I went to the gas station to get gas,” Oliver said. “I gave them a $5 bill and started to put gas in my car.”
Oliver testified her uncle pulled up and came to the back of her car.
“He was mad, still aggressive,” Oliver said. “He was beating on my trunk, threatening me. He was pretty mad. I looked up and said, ‘I rebuke you Satan,’ to him. He spit in my face. He started to walked away and turned around and started to reach for a gun. So I shot. I thought he had his gun.”
Under cross-examination, Oliver testified everyone knew about The Pit Stop.
“(Kenny Williams) goes there; we all go there,” Oliver said. “I just needed to get gas to get out of there.”
Oliver testified things moved quickly at the store.
“Everything happened so fast,” Oliver said. “I just seen him reaching into his waist. I didn’t wait to see (a gun). I thought he was going to kill. I didn’t think he was going to die from one shot. He is the toughest guy I know.”