Man sentenced to at least 6 years in prison after fatal 2017 shooting in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem police file photo (WGHP)

Winston-Salem police file photo (WGHP)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A man will serve at least six years in prison after a fatal shooting in 2017 in Winston-Salem, according to a news release from Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill.

Henry Stewart, 77, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 72-99 months in prison.

The shooting happened on March 25, 2017, at Angel’s Body Shop.

Stewart shot 35-year-old Henry Devon Williams during an argument at the body shop.

Williams walked to the Citgo on Old Lexington Road where he collapsed. He was taken to the hospital and died from his injuries.

The full release from the DA’s office can be read below:

On March 25th , 2017, at approximately 7:00 p.m., officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department responded to the parking lot of the Citgo on Old Lexington Road in connection with a call thatsomeone had been shot in the chest. Upon arrival, officersfound Henry Devon Williams, age 35, lying in the parking lot. Williams had been shot once in the chest. He was alive but unresponsive when officers arrived; Mr. Williams was taken to Baptist Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries later that evening.

The investigation revealed that Mr. Williams had actually been shot in the parking lot of Angel’s Body Shop down the street, but he was able to walk down to the Citgo where he eventually collapsed. Mr. Williams was employed at Angel’s Body Shop and was working when the defendant and four others drove to the shop. The defendant and one of the passengers, Robert Joe, got into an argument with Mr. Williams over money owed by Mr. Joe to Mr. Williams. Mr. Williams possessed what later turned out to be a starter pistol, and at some point during the argument pulled it out. However, surveillance video showed that he only displayed the starter pistol before he put it away. After the situation appeared to calm, the group moved out of the view of the camera. Based on witness interviews all parties were talking and drinking beer without issue. Later in the evening the evidence shows that situation declined again and the defendant pulled out a gun and shot Mr. Williams. At autopsy Mr. Williams had a blood alcohol level of .20. The defendant and the others with him then fled the scene.

Only one witness claimed to have seen the shooting; that witness has since moved away from Winston-Salem and is not cooperating with prosecution. The starter pistol was found discarded in the parking lot. There is no evidence Mr. Williams displayed the starter pistol a second time. The defendant, now 77 years old, was found to have a neurocognitive disorder that affects executive functioning.

On February 24, 2021, defendant Henry Stewart pled guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter, and was sentenced in the presumptive range to a prison term of 72 months minimum, 99 months maximum. The Honorable L. Todd Burke was the sentencing judge. The State was represented by Assistant District Attorney Elisabeth Dresel, and the defense by Assistant Capital Defender William Soukup.

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