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November 20, 2020

Judge imposes 51-year sentence in teen’s murder

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Myi’son Ianeene Ellis escorted from the courthouse after his trial in March.
Lincoln L. Williams Jr. died the night of Aug. 26, 2019, at Fauquier Hospital.
We appreciate the judge following what the jury recommended. Hopefully, we won’t have to deal with something like this again for the next 50 years.
— Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott C. Hook
Ellis Murder Case
• What: Aug. 26, 2019, murder of Lincoln Lamar Williams Jr., 18, shot in the face outside of his home at 5042 Old Auburn Mill Road, about five miles east of Warrenton. He died later that night at Fauquier Hospital.

• Defendant: Myi’son Ianeene Ellis, 39, of Waynesboro.

• Charges: First-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and conspiracy to commit robbery.

• Jury trial: March 2-5 in Fauquier County Circuit Court.

• Verdicts: Guilty on all three charges March 5.

• Jury sentences: 38 years for murder, 3 years for gun charge and 10 years for conspiracy charge.

• Thursday, Aug. 20: Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr. denies defendant’s motion to set aside jury’s verdict.

• Friday, Nov. 20: Judge Whisenant imposes 51-year sentence.

• Prosecutors: Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Abigail J. Owens and Amy Cassandra.

• Defense attorney: Jessica N. Sherman-Stoltz, Waynesboro.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
A Waynesboro man could spend the rest of his life behind bars for the point-blank shooting death of a Warrenton-area teenager last year.

A 12-member jury on March 5 found Myi’son Ianeene Ellis, 39, guilty of first-degree murder and two related charges in the Aug. 26, 2019, killing of Lincoln Lamar Williams Jr.

The shooting took place outside Mr. Williams’ family home at 5042 Old Auburn Mill Road, about five miles east of Warrenton.

The jury sentenced Mr. Ellis to 51 years in prison, including 38 years for murder, 10 years for conspiracy to commit robbery and three years on a gun charge.

First-degree murder carries a penalty of 20 years to life in prison.

A drug dealer, Mr. Williams, 18, died of single gunshot to the face. Investigators described the incident as a bungled robbery attempt.

After an approximately 40-minute hearing Friday morning, Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr. imposed the same sentence on Mr. Ellis.

“We appreciate the judge following what the jury recommended,” Fauquier Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott C. Hook said after the hearing. “Hopefully, we won’t have to deal with something like this again for the next 50 years.”

The defendant’s attorney, Jessica N. Sherman-Stoltz will ask the Court of Appeals of Virginia to overturn the ruling.

On Aug. 20, Judge Whisenant Jr. denied defendant’s motion to strike the jury’s verdict.

Three family members testified Friday on Mr. Ellis’ behalf.

Lillian Scott described her son as a devoted father, son, uncle and friend to many in the Waynesboro community.

Ms. Scott rejected the prosecution’s portrayal of him as a “monster.”

“This is not my son,” she said, adding: “My son is the helm of this family.”

Jyi’son Ellis said he had more of a brother-like relationship with his father.

“I could tell him anything,” the son said. “He’s like a cool dad.”

His father urged him to continually improve himself and stressed the importance of personal responsibility, Jyi’son told the court.

Terri Ann Johnson called her brother a “strong father figure” who disliked “a lot of craziness and confrontation.”

But, Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Abigail J. Owens took exception to their accounts of the defendant.

Referring to Mr. Ellis’ criminal record, Ms. Owens noted that he faced “multiple” drug distribution charges, including one involving more than 50 grams of crack cocaine that resulted in a seven-year prison sentence.

His charges also included assault with a deadly weapon, which got reduced to carrying a firearm without a license, Ms. Owens said. He received a 24-month sentence, with all of that time suspended.

“Perhaps it’s not the most accurate portrayal of his life,” Ms. Owens said of the defendant’s family testimony.

The prosecutor added: “This was a brutal and senseless crime.”

Mr. Williams’ murder changed his family forever, the prosecutor said.

“It left a void that will never be filled,” Ms. Owens told the court.

A key prosecution witness and one of the three defendants, Lurcretia Ann Robinson, 55, of Nokesville, testified during the trial that Mr. Ellis separately confessed to her that he shot the victim.

Authorities originally charged Ms. Robinson with conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with Mr. Williams’ shooting death.

On June 18, she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge — accessory after a homicide — and got sentenced to five years in prison, with three years and two months suspended.

Ms. Robinson told the trial jury in March that she drove Mr. Ellis to the teenager’s home the night of the murder.

While Ms. Robinson remained in the vehicle, Mr. Ellis allegedly confronted the victim outside the home.

Mr. Ellis told her that the two men got into a fight, she testified.

If not for that, “he wouldn’t have had to pop him,” Ms. Robinson said Mr. Ellis told her.

Karen Farmer also testified that Mr. Ellis — her former boyfriend — admitted he shot the victim.

“He said after he shot” Mr. Williams, “Lincoln fell face forward” in the driveway, said Ms. Farmer.

Her brother — Daniel Martin “Rudeboy” Farmer II, 24, of Nokesville — faces the same charges as Mr. Ellis in the case.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the court has yet to schedule Mr. Farmer’s jury trial.

But the Virginia Supreme Court’s Nov. 12 approval of Fauquier’s jury trial plan could mean that Mr. Farmer’s case moves ahead soon.

Contact Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-0300.
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