Two years later the family still seeks justice for their beloved son and brother, Taylor Willams, after he was stabbed in the back and the left side of his body 13 times.
On August 14, 2016, Taylor Williams of Kingsland, GA, an army veteran medic, was stabbed 13 times in the back by Troy Grundorf in Kingsland. Williams died at the scene. The case was immediately turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and then to the District Attorney Jackie Johnson.
In May of 2017, a Camden County grand jury indicted Grundorf of one true count of tampering with evidence and no count for two involuntary manslaughter charges.
Grundorf entered into the fight involving Taylor Williams and Andrew Peacock. Grundorf used a large 12-inch sharp-edged knife where Grundorf appeared to have “acted in self-defense of a third person” with respect to Andrew Peacock, according to a local grand jury decision. Josh Carroll, a friend of Taylor Williams, was also stabbed by Grundoff in the fight multiple times (11 times) according to investigative reports.
Taylor Williams was unarmed in the fight and his body was facing away from Grundorf in a position to where Williams could not defend himself from the stabbing.
The family is now asking Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr to consider reopening the case with help of a private investigator. The investigator has now gathered all of the case file surrounding the death of Taylor Williams with a letter sent to Chris Carr on July 17.
The independent investigator from Alpha Omega Investigative Group out of Arizona completed a review of the evidence and stated in a letter to the Attorney General that “evidence and witness/participants statements were overlooked and/or ignored by law enforcement and prosecutors.” The report goes on to say that a “proper review of this case will reveal there is sufficient evidence to charge Grundorf for murder” of Taylor Williams and the aggravated assault of Josh Carrol.
The independent investigator’s report also states that they have identified several areas of concern about how the investigation was handled by the Kingsland Police Department, the GBI, and the District Attorney’s Office lead by Jackie Johnson of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit.
“There is a perceived prejudice by law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office toward” Taylor Williams, according to the report. Williams, a medic in the army and completing active service in the Middle East, was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Williams, as reported by Kingsland Police, had a history of suicidal ideation.
The investigator points out the following:
- The District Attorney’s Office of Jackie Johnson has not responded to requests from the investigator.
- A toxic relationship with an estranged girlfriend where Williams and the girlfriend co-signed on loans and included her as a beneficiary of life insurance policies and ended the relationship before Williams’ death.
- Police did not perform a forensic analysis of Williams’ cell phone where a critical message was found from Peacock stating that he had been having sex with his Williams’ girlfriend several days before his death. This information was not disclosed to the police from Peacock.
- Peacock told police he did not know Williams at the time of the fight, according to the report.
- Williams’ position during the fight with Peacock incapacitated Williams and he was not able to defend himself from Grundorf’s knife attack.
- Josh Carroll came to assist Williams and was stabbed 11 times by Grundoff.
- After Williams’ death, Grundorf could not be located for some time.
- Evidence from the reports reveals Grundoff cut himself on his head inside the residence after the fight and discarded the knife.
- Police did not establish if Grundorf was in fear of his own life after stabbing Josh Carroll.
- Police did not separate witnesses for questioning, and the crime scene wasn’t properly sealed.
The investigator states that when a person attempts to conceal a weapon and inflicts a wound on themselves, this “implies a guilty state of mind.” Furthermore, the investigator stated that the local law enforcement did not establish, nor did Peacock or Grundorf, “express a concern for their lives” during the investigation.
Body camera evidence shows that Peacock did not say anything about him fearing for his life. Grundorf told police that Peacock and Williams were wrestling and neither were threatening each other’s lives when he was interviewed by police from the body camera evidence.
Grundorf was only charged with “Tampering with Evidence” and not assault with a deadly weapon. The estranged girlfriend told police that Williams wanted to commit suicide “by cop” as it related to his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Williams was charged in 2015 of terroristic threats against the estranged girlfriend, but the District Attorney’s Office later dropped those charges.
Georgia’s Stand Your Ground Law –
The Assistant District Attorney, Rocky Bridges, told the family at the time that a Grand Jury would likely not give a True Bill indictment of Grundoff due to Georgia’s Stand Your Ground Law.
Here is how Georgia’s Stand Your Ground Law works: If one believes that are about to be killed, they can use deadly force to defend themselves. The law has been in place in Georgia since 2006. However, self-defense is a “grey area” in a legal sense. In states with no “Stand Your Ground” laws, the person is required to retreat as much as possible before enacting force to defend themselves. State, like Georgia, that have “Stand Your Ground” laws, one can meet force with force.
In individual cases brought before a jury, a critical issue the jury considers is where is the deceased and what the deceased was doing at the time of the force – in Williams’ case, the stabbing.
According to the Alpha Omega investigator, they believe that because Grundoff admitted he did not perceive there was a life-threatening situation, and Williams was in a compromising position against the knife attack, Grundoff acted with deadly force as opposed to meeting the action with an equal or minimal force against Williams.
The investigator, in his letter to Georgia’s Attorney General, believes there is sufficient evidence to reopen the case and a trial against Troy Grundorf. Based on the investigator’s analysis of the evidence, and the statements from witnesses, they believe the District Attorney’s office had a prejudice against Williams and are calling for the case to be reviewed by an impartial agency.
Perceived prejudice or preceived protection?
The elected Brunswick Judicial Circuit’s District Attorney, Jackie Johnson is already under fire for perceived protection of a rogue cop in Glynn County, Corey Sasser. The cop killed his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Johnson made a deal with Sasser two months prior allowing him out on bond after he had a standoff with fellow cops on May 17.
In 2010, Sasser was allowed to stay on the force after he and his partner shot an unarmed and pinned mother in a slow speed chase, Caroline Small, eight times and Sasser was later promoted by the local police chief. D.A. Jackie Johnson shared the state’s evidence with Sasser, and his partner, nearly two months before the grand jury met and cut an unusual deal before the jury convened. Although the two cases are different, a perceived culture of protection surrounds the D.A.’s office.
Family Reacts –
Brother – Troy Williams:
Troy Williams, Taylor’s brother, who lives and works in Camden County, said the Attorney General has not responded to their request and he is confused how someone could get away with this after stabbing someone in the back 13 times and another 11 times.
“I don’t really know what to say. I’m beyond upset that they won’t reopen Taylor’s case and they say it’s ‘because of his prior history’ and that ‘he was the aggressor’ but that still doesn’t make it okay for someone to stab him 13 times, and all in the back.” said Troy Williams.
“And the guy that they say did it laughing hysterically on the ground after the fact. There’s something seriously wrong. They just had it out against Taylor from the beginning. No, he shouldn’t have been there, but that doesn’t justify those boys stabbing an unarmed civilian 13 times and another being 11,” explained Williams. “I’m still trying to figure out how they get a self-defense out of being stabbed 13 times in the back.”
Mother: Nichole Williams –
“It has been two years since my son, Taylor Justin Williams, was brutally murdered on his ex-girlfriend’s front lawn in Kingsland, Georgia,” said Nichole Williams. “The Georgia justice system has failed us beyond belief. Now that that case is closed, we were able to review all of the evidence with a private investigator who has 35 years experience in law enforcement and 25 years in death investigations. His findings were infuriating and prove what we already knew – Taylor’s case was handled incredibly poorly by the authorities from the very beginning. Through chest camera footage, we learned (among other things) that the crime scene was not sealed, the four people involved were never separated for questioning, and text messages on my son’s phone from the days and hours leading up to his death were never read by the authorities.
“I also had to watch as members of the Kingsland Police Department stood over my son’s body joking about the amount of blood that had seeped into the ground while they bounced up and down. The investigator’s findings have been delivered to the proper authorities in the State of Georgia and not one has reached out in return. I intend to continue to contact them through any and all means possible until I get the justice Taylor deserves,” said the mother of Taylor Willams.
The family is looking to increase awareness of the circumstances surrounding Taylor Williams’ death by placing a billboard on Highway 40 in Camden County, GA.
See documents of the private investigator’s report and the letter to Georgia’s Attorney General –