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Home invasion plea nets 40 years
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A second man accused in the August 2010 home invasion of a Rincon residence has pled guilty to several charges stemming from that incident.

Mark Anthony Williams was sentenced to 40 years in prison last month by Superior Court Judge John R. Turner. Williams was sentenced to 20 years on one count of armed robbery and another 20 years on one count of burglary.

He pled guilty to 10 total counts of aggravated assault, three counts of kidnapping, and one count each of burglary, armed robbery, cruelty to children in the first degree, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and criminal attempt to commit burglary.

“He was asking for significantly less and left it up to the court as to what the appropriate sentence was,” Ogeechee Judicial Circuit assistant district attorney Ben Edwards said. “The court followed the state’s recommendation of 40 years to serve.”

Williams, Justin Timothy Crawford and Robert Lionel Jackson were arrested after a manhunt following an early morning break-in of a Rincon home on Aug. 4, 2010. Following a massive manhunt, Crawford and Williams were arrested. Jackson was arrested three days later in Atlanta.

According to law enforcement authorities, Williams and Jackson burst into the Exley Drive home and held a family of four, including one child, at gunpoint and demanded money. As Rincon Police officers arrived, the suspects fled and one of them fired two rounds from AK-47 at the officers. Neither round hit the officers.

“From speaking with the family of the home where this took place, they were very happy with the sentence as well,” Edwards said. “What happened was a very serious crime and deserved the serious punishment of a long-term prison sentence. Hopefully, that gives some sense of justice and moves the family a little closer to closure in this chapter of their life. I couldn’t imagine having to go through that in my own home.”

Crawford pled guilty in August 2011, receiving 10 years in jail and 10 years of probation for his role in the home invasion. Authorities believe he was the getaway driver and did not enter the home. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to testify against his two accomplices.

Edwards said he did not know when Jackson’s case will be resolved. Jackson faces 10 counts of aggravated assault, three charges of kidnapping and one count each of armed robbery, burglary, cruelty to children in the second degree, possession of a firearm during commission of a crime, criminal attempt to commit a felony and criminal attempt to commit burglary.

Jackson has filed a waiver of a jury trial with the court, which could mean he faces a bench trial or a plea is forthcoming.

“I don’t know which route he is going to take at this point,” Edwards said.

Though Williams’ case did not go to trial, Edwards was confident of a conviction, thanks to the work of the authorities in gathering evidence against him.

“The law enforcement did an excellent job of preparing a case, which ultimately leads to a guilty plea,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the outcome of Mr. Williams’ case.”