AIKEN, SC (WJBF) – The family of an Aiken man killed in 2012 told Cold Case Project their loved one had just graduated from high school with his whole life ahead of him when it was cut short. Nine years later, the case on who murdered Moses Williams Jr remains unsolved.
For all your latest breaking news and local headlines sign up for our daily NEWSLETTER
So, NewsChannel 6 sat down with the young man’s mother, Timica James, and the rest of the family. She shared an experience she had with her son after he was shot.
“I laid my head on his chest and I listened for his heart to stop. I told him, ‘I love you.’ I said, ‘baby let go, you wouldn’t want to live like this. Just go ‘head. Go ‘head on.’ A tear came down his face and his heart stopped and I closed his eyes,” she said.
These were the final moments between a mother and her first born child, a son at the center of a large and loving family in South Carolina.
“Nobody thought I was ready for a child. I wasn’t ready for a child because I was in middle school,” James recalled. “But once he got here, I couldn’t see myself without him.”
He was a big baby boy, bouncing his way into the hearts of loved ones in 1992 when Timica James gave birth at the age of 14.
His aunt, Cathie Curry, had fond memories too.
“He was the first great grandbaby. So, pretty much excited,” Curry said of the family’s sentiment. “It was something new to us.”
Moses Williams, who at an early age earned the nickname “Fat Man,” became the apple of his family’s eyes—blood relatives who were always plentiful and as Uncle Al tells the Cold Case Project, he knew how to make him laugh.
“He was a funny little dude man, that’s all. Just a funny little dude,” Al Thomas, Moses Williams uncle said.
“He loved football,” his mother added.
The number 5 and 10 for Wagener-Salley and Aiken High’s teams, Williams worked the gridiron as quarterback, later graduating in 2011.
“He wanted to go to the navy,” James shared. “His grandfather, my dad, retired from the navy so he always wanted to go to the service. Until he started meeting girls. And, like every young boy, let the girl get in their head, so he didn’t go.”
Her son’s decision not to serve is one she now regrets because he stayed in town. But she says her son was a mama’s boy anyway so choosing not to leave town allowed them to stay close.
“I couldn’t go nowhere without him. He used to sneak in the bed with me and his dad, we wake up, he’s in between us. He was in the bed with us. He was a loving child. I didn’t see any faults,” James reflected.
And in the eyes of the law, Williams was trouble free too. He was never arrested or involved in any wrongdoing. So, Super Bowl evening, February 5, 2012, was a shock to all.
Thomas began, “That night, it was me, his mom, his dad and my wife. We had just left the Super Bowl Party. We were at my house when we got that call.”
James continued, “We actually were standing outside smoking a cigarette. We heard the gunshot, but we were getting ready to go in the house. We didn’t know what was going on. As we going in the house, my phone ring. The girl on the other line said, ‘you need to get to Hahn Village, Fat Man just been shot.’ My instant mind is telling everybody we got to go. We couldn’t find the keys. I started running.”
After leaving his uncle Ralph’s Super Bowl party with his girlfriend and her sister, Moses Williams stopped at what is now the Quick Pantry on University Parkway and Laurens Street. His mother said he purchased cigarettes for his girlfriend’s sister and boiled peanuts for himself. Then he made his way to Hahn Village to drop off that girlfriend, Shawiday Pope and her sister Yuvonda Pope, at their mother’s home at 308 Bradby Lane. He never made it out alive.
James, who said she was nearby when her son was in danger, saw the final moments play out.
“As we coming up the road, his car flying up the road. We not thinking. I’m still thinking he’s in Hahn Village, maybe the paramedic got there. But when we got there, his girlfriend sister and her boyfriend come running out the woods saying his girlfriend took him to the hospital.”
Capt. Martin Sawyer, who works investigations with Aiken Department of Public Safety, sat down and spoke with Cold Case Project about this case.
“Two sisters inside of a house. They heard a gunshot. They ran outside. One of them was Moses’ girlfriend. She got him over into the passenger side of the car. Rushed him to Aiken Hospital where he later died.”
The incident report from that night states Shawiday Pope found Moses Williams sitting slumped over in his car with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his head. Nearby at 311 Bradby Lane, neighbors there heard the gunshot too. But they also heard someone run by their bedroom window, hop inside of a vehicle and leave the area in a hurry.
“And I laid my head on his chest and I listened for his heart to stop. I told him, ‘I love you.’ I said, ‘baby let go, you wouldn’t want to live like this. Just go ‘head. Go ‘head on.’ A tear came down his face and his heart stopped and I closed his eyes,” James stated.
It was a tough time for Curry too. She tearfully told us, “That was probably one of the hardest things in my life. I had just saw him that Thursday and he held me so tight that day. I just felt like had I known that three days later he’d be gone, I wouldn’t have let him go.”
Investigators immediately began working to find out what took place on Bradby Lane, gathering photos, phone records and other evidence. And Capt. Sawyer, who inherited the case from a now retired detective, still has to closely look at a myriad of photos and documents in Moses Williams case file.
He explained, “At that time, Hahn Village was a thriving place for people to live. And there was a good bit of crime there. But at that time of the night, there should have been a lot of people out and about.”
Thomas told us how the immediate news of his nephew’s death impacted him. “That night! It was, it wasn’t no game. It wasn’t no games. I will admit I thank God that I did not come across whoever it was.”
For Fat Man’s family, street justice cried out immediately.
“If somebody would have said, ‘This is him. This is him!’ Aww man. They’d been planning for him that week too,” he exclaimed.
But nine years later, with the help of the Elder in the family, Uncle Al, they are placing their hope in a higher power.
“Let’s bow our heads, close our eyes and let’s think about Jesus. Most gracious and eternal God in heaven,” Thomas said leading the family in prayer.
They are also placing their trust in the legal system.
“I believe a life for a life,” Curry said. But, I mean, that’s not for me to decide. That’s in God’s hands. But I do feel like they need to spend some time in jail for what they did to my nephew.”
He leaves behind a son, Devin, who was just one years old at the time of his father’s death. And two sisters still grappling with the murder of their brother.
His sister, Vanessa Drummings, shared how she has been impacted. “Turned my whole world around. It changed me. It made me an angry person. It made me not deal with nobody anymore. I go through this every day. I cry all the time.”
“He would fuss at me,” Brittany Doyle added saying Williams would always check to see whether she was dating anyone. “He was more like a father figure and a big brother.”
And while they wait, wisdom comes too about those who were in Fat Man’s circle. Cold Case Project learned from Capt. Sawyer that there are no official suspects in the case, but they have interviewed the victim’s girlfriend, who has multiple arrest records dating back to 2009.
“We interviewed her as a witness. We have not suspected that she was involved in this,” Capt. Sawyer said. “If that changes during another interview or if someone comes forward then we’ll interview her and treat her as a suspect.”
Drummings added, “Somebody close to him knew something. The ones around him, they know something. They know a little bit, if not all of it. They know something and it ain’t right until it hit they doorstep. When you lose somebody like that, that’s when you want to come forward, but that ain’t right. That’s why a lot of them going through what they going through now. Because the devil getting them back, karma is something. No matter if it’s ten years down the road or how it’s going to be, you’re going to feel it.”
“When you’re tied into someone, who’s tied into someone and you’re not knowing who they’re tied into everybody has to pay the price behind it,” Thomas shared about what might have happened to his nephew. “I believe there were some hidden things that was going on that he didn’t know about.”
So far, Capt. Sawyer said he’s looking into two men who could have been involved. But it’s too early to tell.
“Some people are just mean. It could be a mistaken identity. He could have been the wrong person in the car. We don’t know. If we knew that, that would give us some way to go further.”
Despite it all, James has some assurance about getting justice for her son’s murder.
“I know I’m going to get closure. I know I am. It’s coming. It’s coming slow, but it’s coming together.”
Anyone with any information about the murder of Moses Williams should contact the Aiken Department of Public Safety at 803 642-7620.
Next time on the Cold Case Project, we take you to Burke County where 25-year-old Daniel Triplett was shot and killed and left in the middle of the road three days before Christmas 2016. What the family and law enforcement need to get justice and close the case.
Photojournalist: Regynal McKie