( 📸: The Inquirer )
Cousins! Christopher Williams had spent a large majority of his life behind bars, serving time based on accusations of four counts of murder before being released and fully exonerated of all charges last year. Sadly as his two year anniversary of being released from state prison was approaching, the 62 year old was tragically shot dead!
According to the Inquirer, the fatal incident took place while Christopher had been attending a North Philadelphia located funeral near Mount Peace Cemetery within the 3000 block of Lehigh Avenue on Friday December 16th.
He is said to have been paying his respects to another formally incarcerated man Tyree Little. Reports read that as Christopher had stepped out of his vehicle he endured a fatal single shot to the head.
Christopher had spent 25 years on Pennsylvania Death Row and had been acquitted of two murders for the death of a jailhouse informant. Following his February 2021 release, the father of six spoke upon his gratitude of defying the odds within such a particular case.
“Never in the history of the Pennsylvania judicial system has someone been charged with six murders, acquitted of two and now exonerated of four,” said Christopher following his release.
Obtained court documents show that the District Attorney’s Office had later revealed that the entire against the men was “built on a house of cards” including false jailhouse informant testimony, extensive undisclosed evidence, and forensic evidence that directly contradicted the informant’s story. “The basic structure underpinning the conviction was built on the unscrupulous behavior of several bad actors,” reads a statement from the DA’s office.
Christopher’s family has been left completely heartbroken by his sudden death. His kids share that despite him being incarcerated for majority of their lives he made sure to maintain a relationship with them.
“He was the man of the family even when he wasn’t here, when he was in jail,” said Christopher’s youngest son Christopher Hartwell.
“He touched everybody he talked to.” Recently, his father asked him for help on a carpentry job — but when Hartwell got there he realized it was just an excuse to spend time together. “Speaking on the year and eight months I had him out here, he taught me how to be a better man. He helped me be a better father myself.”
Christopher’s death heightens the series of issues surrounding former inmates being exonerated and feeling unsafe after being released from prison and having to fight for some sort of civil settlement.
It has been stated that Pennsylvania state does not compensation for wrongfully convicted people. Christopher for a long time since his release struggled with finding work and revealed that re-entry into the everyday world was a major adjustment for him.
“What brings me happiness is my spirit being at peace, and right now it’s not,” he said in February. “I feel like I am being pulled in all areas. … Out here, life is running a hundred times faster than up in that cage and you have to stay on pace or else.”
Things began to look up for Christopher prior to his death as he had recently purchased a pick up truck, was able to rent a house in his own name and began to network in order to potentially build his own business.
Officials state as of right now, no arrests have been made. Cousins, let’s please keep Christopher and his family uplifted in prayer.