PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After a few hours of deliberations over the course of two days, the jury has reached a verdict in a deadly stabbing case out of East Providence.
James Stevens, 31, had his head in his hands as the decision was read aloud. He was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Jasper Williams, 24, but not guilty of first- and second-degree murder.
During the four-day trial, prosecutors sought to prove that Stevens committed first-degree murder while the defense argued the stabbing was the result of self-defense.
“While we’re disappointed our defense of self-defense was rejected, we are satisfied they did not see this as a murder case, either murder 1 or 2, and saw this for nothing more than what it was, which is a manslaughter case,” defense attorney John MacDonald said outside court.
Stevens faces up to 30 years in prison for the manslaughter conviction. His sentencing was scheduled for June.
The victim’s mother, Alecia Williams, said she was surprised by the verdict but she knows they have to live with it, and she forgives the man who killed her son.
“Whether we like what the verdict is, whether we accept the verdict, but the verdict is what the verdict is,” she said. “Many family members or friends may not forgive him for his actions but I do.”
Williams said her son was known for his smile and his hard work. She acknowledged he wasn’t perfect – he was released from prison just weeks before he was killed – but she noted that he was an organ donor, and four of his organs were passed on to people who needed them.
“He’s not here with us physically, he’s not here to see his son, he’s not here to see his mom and his siblings, but he’s still in for other people, and that’s what’s important to me,” she said.