A convicted drug felon was convicted again Thursday, this time for killing a man at Atlanta’s Starlight Drive-in Theater.
After about two hours of deliberations, a DeKalb County jury found Quentric Williams guilty of malice murder for the May 2012 shooting death of Mitt Lenix, finding that Williams fired on Lenix with deadly intent.
“These were the toughest three days of my life,” said Lenix’s father, William Lenix, after the verdict was read. “Now, it’s a time for healing.”
DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said Lenix’s family was granted justice.
“A human being was taken away way before his time … and for what?” James asked. “Senseless acts of violence will not be tolerated.”
Williams, 32, faced charges of murder and a host of others for shooting Lenix, a martial arts expert, as he approached Williams’ pickup to ask for a jump-start.
In addition to murder and two counts of felony murder — killing a person while committing a felony — jurors found Williams guilty of two counts of aggravated assault, fleeing and gun possession. He was found not guilty of two counts of aggravated assault of a peace officer.
After killing Lenix, Williams led police on a high-speed chase from south DeKalb County to the Gwinnett County border, slamming his rented truck into police cars trying to stop him and tossing cash out of the window as he drove, authorities said.
He abandoned the truck after the wreck, leaving his girlfriend, who was unconscious, as he fled on foot.
It was never a question during the trial whether Williams shot Lenix that night. Williams even took the witness stand on Wednesday to admit to the shooting.
“It was self-defense,” Williams said, claiming he only meant to fire a warning shot at someone he believed was coming to harm him and his girlfriend. “I fired up.”
He said he saw a shadowy figure darting toward his truck, ultimately seeming to reach to his waist for a firearm.
Williams’ attorney, Russel Hetzel, said his client had nothing to gain by admitting to the shooting.
“He told the truth … even when it was in his best interest not to,” Hetzel told the jury Thursday morning during closing arguments. “If that (gun) firing is justified, then it’s not a crime.”
But prosecutors gave a different perspective during closing arguments.
“Self-preservation?” DeKalb Assistant District Attorney Zina B. Gumbs asked the jury. “Does that mean take a life?”
William Lenix applauded the jurors for what he characterized as their clarity.
“I thank God that we live in America and that we had 12 people who could see through the lies,” he said.
Still, the U.S. Army veteran and martial arts instructor who trains at-risk youth struck a magnanimous tone when he referred to Williams.
“I regret that my wife and I didn’t get to reach out to him like we have to others,” Lenix said.
Williams has served two state prison terms for drug convictions, according to prison records. He now faces a maximum sentence of life plus 15 years, prosecutors said.
Sentencing will be May 8.