NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard’s sister will spend the rest of her life behind bars for brutally beating an 84-year-old woman to death after he followed her into a California casino bathroom and robbed the victim.
Superior Court Judge Timothy F. Freer on Friday sentenced Kimesha Monae Williams, 39, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2019 murder of Afaf Assad, Press-Enterprise reported.
Williams and another woman, Candace Tai Townsel, 42, were convicted in February by a Riverside County jury of murder, robbery and elder abuse in Assad’s murder.
Freer, however, reportedly suspended the defendants’ sentences on the last two counts, believing that all the crimes were part of the singular act of assassinating Assad.
Assad and her 94-year-old husband reportedly entered the Pechanga Resort Casino around 7:30 a.m. on August 31, 2019, just as Williams and Townsel were leaving. However, Williams and Townsel turned after seeing Assad’s purse and began following the woman, authorities said.
The duo dragged her to a women’s restroom inside the casino, prosecutors said. One of the women stood watch while the other ambushed Assad as she emerged from a stall, stealing the handbag while leaving the octogenarian with a broken skull and bleeding brain.
A witness reportedly found her in a nearby stall and heard the commotion.
Assad was unconscious when the witness and a casino employee found her bleeding on the bathroom floor. She was taken to hospital, where she died four days later.
Williams — who has reportedly been permanently banned from the casino since 2015 when she was caught stealing a customer’s wallet — and Townsel got away with about $1,000 from the theft, authorities said. Assad’s purse has never been found.
According to Press-Enterprise, it was Williams who followed Assad into the bathroom while Townsel waited outside as a lookout. Authorities said at one point, Townsel intentionally bumped into a female employee to prevent her from entering the restroom.
Before Freer handed down the sentence, Williams asked his lawyer to read a statement apologizing to Assad’s family.
“I’m so sorry for your loss,” Williams wrote, according to Press-Enterprise. “I prayed for you and your family every day. I am not responsible for Mrs. Assad’s death. Although the courts found me guilty of the charges, we all know the truth, and that there is only one judge, and that is God, and he knows the truth.
But Freer was reportedly unmoved by Williams’ lack of remorse.
“The idea that Miss Williams or Miss Townsel are not responsible for the death of a human being is laughable,” Freer reportedly said. “She was left on a bathroom floor with her head exploding. A casino bathroom, where people go to urinate and defecate and do God knows what else. This is how her life ended, not with her family and friends around her.
Townsel reportedly did not go to court.
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