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Courthouse to be named for ‘Big John’ on Monday

Lowndes County will pay tribute to its slain sheriff on Monday.

Current Sheriff Christopher West said that the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and the Lowndes County Commission will hold a courthouse renaming and dedication ceremony in honor of Big John Williams on Monday, Aug. 24, at 10 a.m., at the courthouse in Hayneville.

“As you well know our beloved friend and Sheriff John “Big John” Williams was killed in the line of duty In November of 2019,” West said. “This tragic event will live in the lives of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office employees and citizens of Lowndes County for decades to come.”

West said that since Williams was so important to the community, they sought a way to recognize him.

“Because he was so loved and thought of, we will continue to hold events and memorialize him often,” West said. “The renaming of our courthouse is one such event.”

William Chase Johnson, 18 at the time of the shooting, is accused of shooting the sheriff.

Johnson faces capital murder charges from the Nov. 23 shooting at the QV gas station in Hayneville

Alabama law states that it is a capital offense to kill a law enforcement officer on duty regardless of whether the defendant knew he was an officer at the time of the offense.

Johnson was taken into custody less than four hours later after a manhunt, when he showed up at the scene.

On Dec. 2, more than 2,000 people attended Williams’ funeral at the Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery.

Crenshaw County District Judge Tom Sport was appointed to preside over the case after Lowndes County District Judge Adrian Johnson recused himself because he was present at the crime scene.

Sport issued a gag order in the case, which prevents those involved from making public statements to the media.