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Youthful offender status denied for Johnson

The man charged with capital murder in the slaying of Sheriff “Big John” Williams was denied youthful-offender status this week.

A hearing was held on Monday at the Lowndes County Courthouse.

William Chase Johnson, 19, pleaded not guilty and also pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Since the court denied the youthful offender status to Johnson, he will now go to trial.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison without parole or face the death penalty.

When the shooting occurred on Nov. 23, 2019, Johnson was just 18 at the time.

According to police reports, Williams responded to the QV station, identified himself as sheriff, and requested that loud music coming from the suspect’s vehicle be turned down and that’s when the shooting occurred.

Johnson was taken into custody by dozens of law enforcement officers just after midnight the night of the shooting after he approached the scene of the deadly shooting, which occurred at the QV gas station just across the street from the Lowndes County Courthouse that now holds the name of the slain sheriff.

A Lowndes County grand jury indicted Johnson for the capital murder charge in January.

There is a gag order in this case, which prevents parties associated with the case from talking with the media.