RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL)— After five years and a mistrial caused by a hung jury in 2020, the family of a slain 19-year-old basketball player Quoyai Shorter is getting long-anticipated closure for his 2017 shooting death.
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 48-year-old Steven Williams appeared before Judge David Johnson via Zoom. He was sentenced life without parole in the shooting death of Shorter. Wednesday’s sentencing brought the family the closure they needed.
“I can tell it has lifted a heavy weight off of everyone’s shoulders, knowing that justice has served, and it’s brought peace to our family as well,” Quoyai’s sister Shonna Shorter said. “For us, I feel like it it really brings the family peace to knowing that he’s not out on the streets any longer and that justice has finally been served, it’s been five years, so it’s been time.”
Shorter was killed one year after graduating from Smiths Station High School in 2016, where he played basketball before playing collegiately at Wentworth Military Academy in Indiana. He was set to go on to play at Johnson & Wales in North Carolina. His family says if he were still alive today, he would have graduated. While his legacy was cut short, they remember his spirit that lives on.
“Quoyai was a happy person, encouraging to me. He was my brother. And so, of course that sister, brother bond. His energy around him, you would never be upset or sad. He always found a way to uplift you,” Shonna Shorter said.
“He was a lovable child. I thank God that justice has been done. It took a long time for it to come, but now we got peace. We just want to give God all the praise and all the glory, for this to have come to an end. Now we all can rest in peace and thank God that justice has been received,” Shorter’s grandmother Eva Williams said.
This case was Russell County District Attorney’s Ken Davis’ last murder trial. He is the longest serving elected district attorney in the nation. His successor, Russell County Chief Deputy and District Attorney Elect Rick Chancey says Davis was adamant on getting the trial reset to see justice served.
“This is one that meant a lot to him. It’s been on his heart for a while. You got a young kid, a popular young man, very bright future, who was shot dead right outside of his home,” Chancey said. “Mr. Davis was, I think, very glad he was able to hang around and not retire until this trial was completed.”
Davis has spent the last 40 years working to give peace to families across Russell County, up until nearly his last day which is set for Dec. 15.