JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A Jacksonville man convicted of killing a Sudanese refugee with a hammer during a September 2009 robbery will likely avoid the death penalty.
A Duval County jury recommended Tuesday that 33-year-old Merlin Williams Jr. receive life in prison. He was convicted earlier this month of first-degree murder, robbery and car theft. The judge told jurors he would likely follow their recommendation when he sentences Williams next month.
Authorities say Williams and his girlfriend, 24-year-old Ashley Nichole Jerrell, stole 37-year-old Isaac Siliman's credit cards, computer and car after attacking him with the hammer, a stun gun and pepper spray.
As part of a deal with prosecutors, Jerrell pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against Williams.