Odom: Facebook helped me

Published 5:09 pm Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Brewton man is thanking social media for putting the man who killed his brother and sister-in-law in 2008 back behind bars.
Michael W. Williams was convicted in 2011 following the shooting deaths of Donna and Dennis Smith of Brewton after a dispute ensued in the Owassa Community in Conecuh County following the Alabama/LSU football game.
Williams began serving a 20-year sentence in Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton in April 2011. But, according to the victim’s brother, Shannon Odom, Williams was transferred in November 2013 and became a trusty that December at the Conecuh County Jail at the request of the current sheriff, Edwin Booker.
Odom said he and his family found out about the transfer on Mon., Aug. 25, and were outraged to learn Williams was back “at home” and allowed to work outside the county jail.
“First I thought, how injustice is this; how can a convicted murderer have these special privileges when people convicted of lesser crimes don’t get to see daylight, let alone have these privileges?”First he called to verify the story. Odom was able to confirm the transfer using the Alabama Department of Corrections website. He immediately begin posting on Facebook, “tagging people asking for all to share, comment, call the local papers, news media” to get the story out.
“I had to let people know (Williams) was walking the streets,” Odom said. “The biggest thing I put on (social media) was this man has a history of anger and violence, and we don’t need him on the streets.”
Soon, the story went viral, he said.
“There were 70 something people who sh ared it and another 80 commented through my page,” he said.
Odom said when attempts to get help from Conecuh County officials proved unsuccessful, he contacted Gov. Robert Bentley’s office Tuesday. From there, he was sent to Attorney General Luther Strange and later State Rep. Charles Newton, who was able to help the family.
By Wednesday, the state DOC website listed Williams as an inmate at Kilby Prison, Odom said.
“(Newton’s) exact words were just wanted to let you know that as of two hours ago, (Williamson) was back to prison,” Odom said of the call he received from Newton Wednesday afternoon. “I got cold chills from head to toe and let out a big sigh of relief. I believe that with the call to the AG’s office and social media, that’s what got him sent back.
“With a tragedy like this you learn to pick the pieces up and build your life back,” he said. “When something like this happens, you relive it all over. Then, you have to start from scratch. But today, I can do it with a smile, because I know he is in prison where he belongs.”

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