Shephard v. WilliamsAnnotate this Case
In 2011, appellee Kealy Williams pled guilty to charges of malice murder, felony murder, hijacking a motor vehicle, armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was sentenced to life in prison on the malice murder conviction, twenty years imprisonment for his convictions for hijacking, armed robbery and aggravated assault, and a consecutive, suspended five year sentence for the possession of a firearm conviction. In 2013, Williams filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus contending, inter alia, that his plea was not voluntarily entered and that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. After a hearing, the habeas court granted Williams’ petition, concluding that his plea was invalid because he was not of “sufficiently sound mind and intelligence” to make an informed decision to plead guilty and that he was denied effective assistance of counsel under "Strickland v. Washington." Stan Shepard, in his capacity as the warden of the Augusta State Medical Prison, appealed the habeas court’s ruling, arguing granting habeas relief in this case was in error. After reviewing the record and applicable legal authorities, the Georgia Supreme Court found no basis for the grant of habeas relief in this case and reversed.