Marquie Brandon Williams

Campbell County resident Marquie Brandon Williams, 27, was sentenced Jan. 3 to life imprisonment for firing gun shots that killed Lisa Simone Henderson of Appomattox on the night of April 5, 2018.

CAMPBELL COUNTY — A Campbell County man, one of two men convicted of murdering 22-year-old Appomattox resident Lisa Simone Henderson in April 2018, will never see life outside of a prison again.

On Jan. 3, 27-year-old Marquie Brandon Williams was sentenced to life imprisonment for firing gun shots that killed Henderson on the night of April 5, 2018.

Campbell County Circuit Court Judge John Cook handed Williams a total sentence of 105 years, which includes three years for use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and two years for grand larceny in the theft of Henderson’s automobile, cell phone and car keys.

In an interview following sentencing, Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul McAndrews said he was pleased with the outcome, stating that Williams deserved the life sentence.

McAndrews went as far as describing the killing as an “execution” because of the cold, calculated manner in which the murder was carried out.

“The facts in the case were unassailable — this was an execution,” he said. “This was the first time I had ever seen somebody march somebody to a car, uphill, and then shoot them in cold blood … Usually we have anger, we have a fight, we have some motive, we have something. Here, we had unequivocally a marched, forced execution.”

Evidence detailed in prior court hearings showed that Williams, Henderson and co-defendant Felix Jerome Jefferson III left the Sage Drive home of Williams and drove to the area of Plum Branch Road in Concord. Their cell phones had been left at Williams’ home, per his instruction.

All three walked several hundred yards up a hill into the woods off Plum Branch Road. Jefferson told investigators he assumed they were going to retrieve guns because Williams was a Nine Trey Crips gang member and gun runner between Maryland and Central Virginia. It was then that Williams fired several shots at Henderson with a .45-caliber pistol and ordered Jefferson to shoot with another gun. Henderson was struck nine times — twice in the back, once on the left hip, twice in the head, and four times in the abdomen and stomach.

McAndrews said that Henderson was found lying on her back, which indicates she would have been shot in the back first and rolled over. While still conscious, she was then shot in the head.

Henderson was reported missing the next day, and her 2005 Chevrolet Impala was found abandoned on Carter Street in Lynchburg three days after the murder

On April 10, Jefferson was arrested and led investigators to the location of Henderson’s body. At a 2018 preliminary hearing, Jefferson originally said that he fired a .38-caliber pistol out of fear of Williams, but that his shots missed Henderson.

Jefferson had initially been charged as an accessory to the crime but those charges were later elevated to second degree murder. Jefferson pleaded guilty on Nov. 27, 2019. Bullets from a .38-caliber pistol were found in Henderson’s body, along with those of the .45 used by Williams.

In the course of the investigation, an FBI investigator used cellular tower analysis to track the mobile phone activities of all three individuals. It was discovered that the phones were turned off at some point after 9 p.m. the night of the crime, but were “pinging” off the tower again at around 12:30 to 1 a.m. in the James River sector of Lynchburg where Henderson’s phone had been tossed into the river and the car and her keys were found

A tracking dog from Pittsylvania County also was brought in to track the scent of clothing and activities at the crime scene.

According to McAndrews, Williams has never given an explanation for the reason he shot and killed Henderson. As reported in the Oct. 2 edition of the Times Virginian, the best clue investigators have for a possible motive are cell phone messages from Henderson to another individual indicating that she may have been planning to break off her romantic relationship with Williams. However, it is not known if Williams ever saw the messages or not

Although a motive is not yet known, McAndrews said that no matter what the motive was, this type of crime deserves the harshest punishment

“It doesn’t matter why he did it; it matters what he did,” McAndrews said. “And what he did was just something that can’t be tolerated, can’t be overlooked. People deserve to know that when you take life this indiscriminately, when you take it with such cold blood and such intention, that your place is prison — at least that’s what I want the message in Campbell County to be.”

For the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of Jan. 15 print edition of The Altavista Journal. It's available NOW on newsstands throughout Campbell County!