Jurors must decide: Deliberate murder or crime of passion

Twonia Williams. Image source: Harrison County Sheriff's Department.
Twonia Williams. Image source: Harrison County Sheriff's Department.
Katrina Sargent. Image source: Family.
Katrina Sargent. Image source: Family.

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Was it a crime of passion or a deliberately planned murder? That's what jurors must decide in a trial underway now in Gulfport. Jurors heard how a heated argument over a man left one woman dead and another woman facing years in prison.

Twonia Williams is accused of shooting Katrina Sargent to death in front of Sargent's Gulfport home back in 2009. One of Sargent's neighbors, Carsie Durr, witnessed the shooting. He wiped away tears while listening to the tape of his 911 call.

He testified the two women were arguing. Durr recalled hearing Sargent tell Williams to leave.

"She kept saying 'My kids are inside. Could you please leave?' The lady wasn't going," said Durr.

"She turned around, walked three or four steps back. That's when the lady pulled the gun and shot her."

Expert witnesses said Sargent was shot in the face and later died at the hospital.

Williams took the stand in her defense to say she had put her boyfriend of four years out of her home a few days before the shooting. She said it was because of his ongoing cheating.

Williams testified the night of the shooting someone told her that her ex had been spotted driving Sargent around in the vehicle Williams had paid $2,000 for him to get the title.

Williams said she wanted her money back and went to Sargent's house to confront her ex-boyfriend and not Sargent.

"I was mad. I was devastated," said Williams.

"I said 'Trina, I didn't come here to talk with you. I came here to talk to Sean.'"

However, testimony indicated the ex-boyfriend never went outside. Katrina Sargent did.

"I was angry. It was five days after I put him out," said Williams.

"Yes. I killed her. I am sorry about it. I didn't mean to. I never intended to kill Katrina Sargent. I wish she never came out."

The defense is pushing for a manslaughter conviction instead of murder. Williams said she bought the 357 revolver at a pawn shop after Hurricane Katrina and kept it in her car for protection.

During cross examination, Williams admitted she got out of her car with the loaded gun, cocked it and pulled the trigger. She then drove to a friend's house and threw the gun in the trash.

Closing arguments are Thursday. Then the case should go to the jury.

This is the second time this case has been tried. Williams' earlier murder conviction was thrown out by the Mississippi Supreme Court because of what justices call unfair jury instructions.

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