An associate of R. Kelly has been sentenced to prison after he attempted to intimidate one of the singer’s accusers with an arson attack. On Wednesday (Nov. 17), the US Attorney’s Office announced that Michael Williams will serve eight years behind bars for setting the accuser’s car on fire.
According to prosecutors, the singer’s associate researched details on the “detonation properties of fertilizer and diesel fuel” before going to the Florida home of “Jane Doe,” pouring gasoline around her car and setting it ablaze. He later pleaded guilty to an arson charge and admitted that he tried to scare the woman in hopes that she wouldn’t testify at R. Kelly’s sex trafficking trial.
“In a violent act designed to instill fear and stop a witness from testifying at trial, Williams set fire to the victim’s vehicle in the middle of the night while it was parked outside of a residence occupied by four adults and two children,” said Breon Peace, US attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “Intimidating witnesses and threatening the safety of crime victims undermine the very fabric of our judicial system and will not be tolerated.”
Though Williams wished to silence “Jane Doe,” the young woman shared her story during the federal trial, which ended with Kelly’s guilty conviction. She also explained how the arson attack affected her life via a statement read by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez at Williams’ sentencing hearing.
“It is very unfortunate to see a man lose his freedom, however, the crime that was committed was not only vicious but disturbing,” wrote Kelly’s accuser. “My mental state deteriorated tremendously due to fear, invasion of privacy and trauma among many other things. Because of your actions, I live in fear and have had to relocate my entire life. In that home were not only adults but animals and children under the age of 10. My family is traumatized and has been in distress due to this unlawful act. I hope this life-changing event gives you time to reflect on your actions.”