Corey Williams: His Murderers Still Walk Free
November 13, 2021
Corey Williams was murdered in his home November 14, 2020. His family, frustrated with how his small-town police department carried out the initial investigation, has continued to fight for justice.
The disabled community experiences violence at 3x the rate of able-bodied individuals.
Corey was unfortunately apart of that statistic.
If you have any information about the murder of Corey Williams, please call the Simmesport Police Department at (318) 941-2576.
Corey's life mattered.
- Hey y’all. I’m your host, Peyton, and today I’m going to tell you the story of a family who is fighting so hard for justice that nothing could rain on their parade… literally.
- This is The Crimes-Picayune.
- It was a crisp - well, crisp for Louisiana - fall night when around 9:30pm Simmesport Police received word that a man had been shot and was currently fighting for his life on the front porch of his East Brushy Street home.
- Corey Williams had been doing what a lot of us were at this point in the pandemic… a whole lot of nothing. According to a family member, the 42 year old was an “early bird” so he probably would’ve been getting ready for bed soon anyway, pandemic or not.
- But instead of spending the rest of his Friday night relaxing in his own bed, Corey would be rushed to one 70 miles away at Lafayette General Hospital, where just a few hours later he would succumb to the single gunshot wound to the back of his head.
- Corey was born on April 10th 1978. He and his 3 siblings were raised in Simmesport by his mom, Linda. Being a single mom to 4 was already difficult on its own, and would become more-so when Corey received a muscular dystrophy diagnosis at some point during his childhood.
- The Mayo Clinic defines muscular dystrophy as “a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.” The CDC says that this is caused by mutations in a person's genes and that over time it can cause mobility to become more limited.
- MD is not curable, but an individual can be supported through the use of medications and therapy. And I know y’all aren’t here for a biology lesson, but I promise it’s relevant.
- Corey’s cousin, Tenika, stated that at the time of Corey’s death, he didn’t have to utilize a wheelchair and could walk independently. He did, however, have to use his arm to pick up his leg if he were to go up steps. And, again, I’ll come back to this in just a second.
- One week after his passing, Corey’s family and friends gathered at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church to celebrate the life of the most goofy yet kind-hearted and generous man they knew.
- Though their “goodbyes” were left at his grave, those closest to Corey took home more questions than they had answers.
Protested 2 months later because they still had no info from police
- For months the family tried to contact Simmesport PD to see if there was any progress towards bringing Corey justice, but no one would ever provide them with an update on the case.
- The family knew they couldn’t just sit around for another 2 months and let Corey’s name get swept under the rug. So on January 25th 2021, roughly 30 people assembled in front of his cream colored home on East Brushy Street and took to the streets of Simmesport with their handmade signs in tow.
- The group’s goal was to walk to town hall, with their frustrations voiced on poster boards, and press officers to convict those that are responsible for Corey’s death.
- Despite the cold and rainy weather, they did just that, with a very special person leading the pack.
- In some of the news clips by KALB, you can see his young daughter, Hailey, with an umbrella in one hand and a sign in the other ever-so-bravely guiding the group.
- The front of the 10 year old’s sign said “I am Hailey Firmin. What about my dad???” and featured a picture of her late father on the back.
- The protesters were greeted by the incoming police chief, Daniel Firmin, once they arrived at town hall. He informed the protesters that he wasn’t able to comment on the case at that time. Ya see, Firmin had been appointed as the new police chief during a Town Council meeting just 10 days prior to this “march for justice” and was coincidentally set to be officially sworn in that evening. Firmin did however tell the family that he would do everything he could to get answers for them once he assumed the new position as chief.
- But who was he replacing? And why?
Police chief change
- Officer Glenn Hall was the Chief of Police at the time of Corey’s murder. He had been the assistant chief prior to being appointed this position by the mayor, Mayor Leslie Draper, in July of 2020 after the then-current chief resigned to take a job with the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office - and if y’all have listened to some of my other episodes, you know how much I just love APSO. And before I get another bad review on Apple Podcasts, I will say that an officer from APSO offered their assistance on the case but never received any information from Simmesport PD in order to assist and, as of January this year, that offer still stands.
- But anyway, Mayor Draper seemed to have changed his mind when during the January Town Council meeting I mentioned just a second ago, he recommended Daniel Firmin take Hall’s place as chief of police.
- An article by Avoyelles Today reported that during the January 14th meeting, “a member of the audience asked why Hall could not continue to be police chief, noting that he was doing a good job and seemed to have a good relationship with youth in town. Draper said answering that question would be considered a personnel matter that cannot be discussed in public.”
- And due to it being a “personnel matter,” I couldn’t find anywhere that stated why the sudden change in police chief 6 months after the previous appointment, but I have a feeling that what I’m about to share with you isn’t an isolated incident…
- Corey’s family was finally granted a meeting with the Avoyelles Parish DA in July of this year, 2021 to discuss why they were sitting there, 8 months later, without answers. And that’s because it’s really hard to conduct an investigation when evidence wasn’t collected.
- According to Corey’s cousin Tenika, there was no evidence taken from the house that night. No photos of the crime scene were taken. Corey’s home wasn’t even roped off with yellow tape until 5pm the next day.
- At the time of the protest in January, Corey didn’t even have a folder at Simmesport PD. But Officer Firmin changed that. Right there during his exchange with the family, Firmin went inside his office, grabbed a blank folder, and wrote Corey’s name on it.
- Standing in the parking lot with the crowd of people, Firmin, holding up the folder, said “This is my first priority. We will make head-way. Together we will make head-way.”
- Tenika wanted me to note that Chief Firmin has been incredible at keeping them in the loop about Corey’s case. When she and I spoke several weeks ago, she had nothing but good things to say about him.
- But we’re still left with the question: who murdered Corey Williams?
- It’s believed that several people are actually responsible for Corey’s death. And all of them are known to the family.
- Because this case is still very much open, I don’t want to say anything that could potentially compromise anything in court but I will add that Avoyelles Today reported on January 25th - the same day as the protest - that the family had been told by unofficial sources that there are four suspects, three men and one woman.
- And, allegedly, some of them have had charges pressed against them, but none of the charges were for murder. Each of them bonded out and have been walking around free for months.
- During an interview with KALB, Corey’s mom, Linda, said “What they did to him was wrong and I want some justice done for my child… they didn’t have to do what they did… all they had to do was just push him down and take what they wanted, not take him.”
- But to the perpetrators, they did.
- They knew that Corey had a paralytic arm and that he wouldn’t be able to fight back. They could just break into his home, push him down, take whatever they wanted, and leave.
- But Corey knew who they were, and knew he’d be able to identify them. So in order to save themselves they decided to take Corey.
- The Department of Justice published a report in November 2016 about victimization rates amongst people with a disability or multiple disabilities vs those without.
- The author, Dr. Erika Harrell, broke the data down by race, gender, type of crime, type of disability, how many disabilities, and even what time of day the simple or serious assault happened alongside the rates of those without disabilities.
- She found that the victimization rate against those with disabilities was almost 3x higher than those without.
- Something interesting that I found was that although amongst able-bodied individuals, Black people have the highest victimization rate of all races at 18.8 per 1,000 people but the rate amongst those with disabilities is relatively the same regardless of race, measuring about 29 for every 1,000 people.
- Most notably, and also most relevant to Corey’s case, is that amongst victims with disabilities, 40% of them were considered “well known/casual acquaintances” with their offender.
- About two months before his death, an individual that was thought to be responsible for and/or was involved in Corey’s murder, went live on Facebook. It wasn’t for very long and it wasn’t anything remarkable or momentous, but of the four people that “liked” the post, Corey was one of them.
- I hope to bring y’all updates to the Facebook group very soon, and although the new chief seems promising, I won’t have any updates unless someone that knows something, says something.
- If you know anything about the murder of Corey Williams, please contact the Simmesport Police Department at (318) 941-2576.