POINT OF THE MOUNTAIN — A 30-year-old man serving up to life in prison in connection with the 2009 shooting death of a teenage boy on a West Valley City golf course has died.
Jeremiah Williamson was found in his cell by prison officials around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke said Thursday. Williamson's death was declared nearly an hour later at a local hospital.
Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said early indications are that Williamson died of natural causes stemming from a pre-existing medical condition. Hoyal said the department is awaiting the autopsy report from the Utah Medical Examiner's Office to determine the official cause of death.
Williamson pleaded guilty to murder, a first-degree felony, in connection with the death of 18-year-old JoJo Brandstatt and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. The teenager was shot three times execution-style and murdered in a gang-related killing on Feb. 6, 2009.
According to court testimony, Williamson stayed in the car the night of the shooting while Shardise Malaga, Spencer Cater and Antonie Hunter Farani escorted Brandstatt to the golf course. It is believed Farani, affiliated with the Crips, fired the fatal shots.
Brandstatt's family said he was not affiliated with a gang but wore red to "fit in" and was reportedly shot because Farani didn't like that he was wearing a red shirt — the color of a rival gang.
Farani, 18, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and 15 years to life in prison for two counts of aggravated kidnapping, also a first-degree felony.
Malaga, 23, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for five felonies, including manslaughter, two counts of kidnapping and unrelated charges of burglary and theft.Comment on this story
Cater, 22, was convicted of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery, both first-degree felonies. He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of 10 years to life in prison.
In addition to the murder charge, Williamson was charged with second-degree felony obstruction of justice for refusing to testify at Cater's trial. He entered a guilty plea in abeyance to the charge in August and was ordered to have no further violations and was to behave in prison for 12 months.