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September 12, 2016

Opal man’s murderer gets 50-year prison sentence

File Photo/Cassandra Brown
The judge Monday ordered Mark Hayes, here leaving his preliminary hearing in February, to spend 30 years in a state prison.
Dow Williamson, a computer security expert, got shot four times and died in his home office near Opal last February.
Mark Hayes drove two hours to Dow Williamson’s home in order to foist his malicious, murderous grudge on the man he blamed for the demise of his marriage.
— Commonwealth’s Attorney James P. Fisher
An Opal man’s killer will spend 30 years in prison for murder.

Mark Harlan Hayes, 51, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in June.

Fauquier County Circuit Court Judge Herman Whisenant Jr. on Monday sentenced Mr. Hayes to 50 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Dow Williamson last October. Judge Whisenant suspended 20 years of the sentence.

Mr. Hayes drove from Amelia County south of Richmond to Mr. Hayes’ home on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 22.

The killer shot Mr. Williamson four times in the head, arm and torso, rolled his body in a rug and left it there.

“This was a vicious, premeditated plan,” Commonwealth’s Attorney James P. Fisher said during Monday’s sentencing hearing. “Mark Hayes drove two hours to Dow Williamson’s home in order to foist his malicious, murderous grudge on the man he blamed for the demise of his marriage.

“He could have reversed course during his two-hour drive, but he did not.”

Mr. Fisher said the killer shot Mr. Williamson “execution style” at close range.

Workman remodeling a bathroom discovered Mr. Hayes’ body in his home office the next morning.

Mr. Hayes in December confessed the killing to his daughter, who reported it to law enforcement authorities.

In an attempt to win back his estranged wife, Mr. Hayes had helped set up sexual encounters for her using Craiglist, according to earlier court testimony.

Mr. Williamson took her to New York, where she had a bad experience, which apparently fueled Mr. Hayes’ desire for revenge.

“Dow Williamson was a good man,” Mr. Fisher said.

At the sentencing, he read excerpts of victim impact statements from Mr. Williamson’s daughter, son, wife and his former wife. They all wrote of how the murder had affected them and changed their lives.

Mr. Hayes said he had “no words to explain how I feel about this whole thing. It is all my responsibility, no one else’s, and I am ready to be held accountable.”

Judge Whisenant ordered that he remain on supervised probably upon completion of his prison term.
Mr. Hayes faced a potential life sentence.
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BJ · September 13, 2016 at 8:48 am
When you start looking on Craig's List to save your marriage it's time to call it quits. Mr. Williamson must not have been such a "good man" if he was involved in these kinds of encounters. This situation was bad for everyone concerned. Condolences go to the family members that have to live with this sad outcome.
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