East Falmouth Man Sentenced to Prison for Murdering Stepfather

Devante M. Fernandes, the gunman who shot and killed his stepfather in April of last year will serve 12 to 20 years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Walpole after the judge listened to pleas from both the victim’s sister and wife.

Mr. Fernandes, 20, of Broken Bow Lane, Teaticket, pleaded guilty in July to shooting John J. Williams and was sentenced on Friday at Barnstable Superior Court. The charge was reduced from first-degree murder to manslaughter as a result of the plea bargain.

There had been a pattern of abuse between Mr. Williams and his wife, Mr. Fernandes’s mother, which could be traced back to shortly after they met in 1994, according to the defendant’s attorney, Robert W. Nolan. Mr. Nolan argued that the act was motivated out of self defense.

On Friday, after listening to the pleas of Mr. Fernandes’s mother, Tonia A. Williams of Falmouth, and Mr. Williams’s sister, Judge Gary A. Nickerson allowed the minimum sentence of 12 years. First assistant district attorney Brian S. Glenny had asked for an 18- to 20-year sentence.

“Certainly no one won in this case,” Mr. Nolan said. “It was a terrible family tragedy but I think it was a proper disposition.”

More details on the murder of John Williams which occurred in April 2012 can be found in this Enterprise article written in the days following the shooting.


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