A suspect, arrested for the July 2012 stabbing death of Johnny Williams Jr., may move to a jury trial in May.
Christian James Thomas, 21, at the time of the incident, was apprehended for allegedly stabbing Williams multiple times, causing his death. The stabbing occurred July 31, 2012, at the Treetop Apartment complex in Hinesville.
Williams died while enroute to Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah, according to initial reports. Hinesville Police officers Anthony Martin and James Fulwood responded to a call around 2:30 p.m. and found Williams suffering from multiple stab wounds, yet still conscious.
Thomas was supposedly dating Williams’ stepdaughter.
Based on the initial report, Williams was able to identify Thomas as the assailant. The report also included the testimony of a witness who said he saw Thomas approach Williams from behind. He said Thomas began striking Williams. The witness said, at first, he thought Thomas was throwing punches.
When he went outside, the witness realized Thomas was stabbing Williams. He rushed into the complex office and had someone call 911. The witness told officers Thomas continued to stab Williams as Williams lay wounded on the ground.
The witness said Thomas tried to enter the office but the door was locked. Thomas then ran off.
HPD tracked down Thomas, who was arrested without incident the same day. He was charged with two counts of murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission or attempt to commit certain felonies.
Bond was initially denied by a magistrate judge. Thomas’ first attorney, William Cox, filed a motion to have Thomas mentally evaluated in 2012. Thomas pled not guilty to the charges in August 2014.
The case was set for a jury trial in May 2015, but was continued when a scheduling conflict arose with one of the expert witnesses.
Thomas’ current attorney, public defender John Ely, filed a motion for a special plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in October 2015, saying Thomas has an extensive history of psychiatric episodes.
Another motion for a mental evaluation was submitted last June. That same month bond was set at $1 million cash or $2 million property by Liberty County Superior Court Judge Robert Russell. The results of the mental evaluation were filed, but sealed by the court in February.
On April 3, Thomas’ case was reviewed by the court and a tentative trial date set for May 10.