Murder victim's family: We're not willing to go through this again

Katrina Sargent (Source: Family photo)
Katrina Sargent (Source: Family photo)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Family members of a Gulfport woman gunned down by a romantic rival are devastated because they may have to go through the pain of a new trial. The problem is the woman linked to Katrina Sargent's murder just had her conviction tossed out.

Twonia Williams was convicted of the 2009 murder and sentenced to life in prison. But the Mississippi Supreme Court just threw out the conviction and ordered a new trial. The decision was based on what the justices said were unfair jury instructions.

If time heals all wounds, Sargent's family wonders why the years since her death have only brought more heartache.

"It hurts," said Minnie McCall, the victim's mother. "It hurts me so bad because she'll never come back. My husband kept on saying 'Why did she kill my baby? Why did she kill my baby?'"

During the trial in 2012, the family listened to testimony about how Sargent was shot in her doorway in the wee hours of the morning by her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. Sargent's young children saw it all.

"We're going to trial thinking, 'Okay, we're going to hear the truth. It's going to bring us a little closure. We're going to have a little peace,'" said Barbara McCall, the victim's sister. "But it opened up a lot of wounds. The 911 calls, sitting there hearing what happened to our sister just broke me down. I felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown."

Another sister, Debra Haynes, said crime scene photos submitted in court were especially troubling.

"To see them passing the pictures and we couldn't see the pictures. The expressions on the people's face that were looking at the pictures," said Haynes. "For her to sit there and tell us my sister asked her to leave and she didn't leave."

The family worries Williams might be acquitted in the second trial by claiming the shooting was an accident. The State Supreme Court ruled on Thursday jury instructions in the first trial prejudiced the jury against her argument that the shooting was accidental. Sargent's family they can't sit through another court case.

"I don't think she needs to come out and I don't think she needs to be retried because she knew what she was doing," said Minnie McCall. "The seven-year-old baby was standing in the door when his mama was shot. He can tell you exactly how she was shot. What am I doing at your house at two o'clock in the morning with a gun?"

They are pleading with Williams not to let it go back to trial.

"For her to want a new trial and put us through that. We're not strong enough for that, Twonia. What I want to ask her is let it go, leave us alone," said Barbara McCall. "You're guilty. You were found guilty."

"Trina's not coming back, At least you still have your life," Barbara McCall said. "We need to heal and it's going to take us a long time because we went through too much. We're not willing to go through this again. Don't do that to us. Accept what happened to you and go on. Serve your time and leave us alone. Let us be. Just let us be."

Katrina Sargent's family is especially upset because there is a possibility that Twonia Williams could be released from prison while awaiting trial. The District Attorney's office said Williams was given $1 million bond before the first trial but was unable to post the money. Prosecutors said they will argue that the bond not be lowered and they are hopeful to retry the case sometime this year.

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