ESCONDIDO—Tommy Lee Williams will spend this Christmas and every other holiday for the rest of his life behind bars.
“Nobody did this to you but you,” Jeanette Lawrence, the victim, wrote in a letter read by the prosecutor at Williams’ sentencing Dec. 18. “You may have beat me up but you didn’t beat me down.”
Superior Court Judge Joan Weber sentenced Williams to life in prison for the violent assault on his now ex-wife two years ago in her Escondido apartment in which he dove through her bedroom window, and then beat and assaulted her with his fists, a dinner fork and barbecue fork.
Weber said she couldn’t think of a more “terrifying” scenario for a woman.
In April, a panel of six men and six women found Williams guilty of attempted murder, torture, false imprisonment, threatening crimes to cause serious injury or death, inflicting corporal injury to a spouse and violating a court protective order relating to the Oct. 27, 2007, attack.
The torture charge alone carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.
During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Marnie McGee argued Williams, 46, planned the attack as a murder-suicide, but was ultimately interrupted by Lawrence’s neighbors who heard her screams and came to her aid.
In her closing statement, McGee told jurors that the assault stemmed from Lawrence filing for divorce. The prosecutor said Williams wanted to control every aspect of his wife’s life and the divorce filing sent him over the edge.
Lawrence suffered a broken rib, nose and orbital socket as well as puncture wounds, cuts to her hands, severe bruising and a sprained ankle from Williams’ attack, McGee said.
However, Williams’ attorney, Herb Weston, portrayed his client as the victim in a scheme put together by Lawrence to have him killed in jail by a skinhead gang to which Williams said her son belonged.
In Lawrence’s letter to the court at the sentencing, she denounced Williams’ portrayal of her as a lie. She wrote that he is habitual liar. “You don’t know truth, it’s not in your character.”
Williams now has 60 days to file an appeal.