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HILLSVILLE — All charges have been sent to a Carroll County grand jury, in a case against a 23-year-old Woodlawn man accused of an attempted carjacking in January.
Richard Austin Williams appeared in Carroll County General District Court on Friday for a preliminary hearing before Judge E.M. Turner III.
Williams went to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for treatment of gunshot wounds after brothers Terry and David Myers foiled the defendant’s alleged attempt to steal a Chevy Impala that was for sale.
David Myers testified that he shot Williams after a struggle — and after Williams pulled a gun on the brothers.
Williams faces two counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of attempted carjacking, one count of using a firearm while attempting to commit a carjacking and two counts of using a firearm while attempting to commit murder.
Terry Myers put his car up for sale and parked it in the lot at Dawn Auction Company with a sign that had his cell phone number on it.
On Jan. 9, Myers received a call that went to voice mail, from a man claiming to be “Michael Wilson,” who said he was interested in buying the Impala.
The man claimed he wanted to meet about the vehicle that same day, because he was to soon ship out with the military, Myers testified in the Carroll County General District Court.
Myers and his brother went to meet the potential buyer around 4:30 or 4:45 p.m. that day.
Prosecutor Michael Jones asked who showed up at the meeting. Myers pointed to Williams, clad in a black-and-white jail jumpsuit and thick-rimmed glasses and seated with defense attorney Chip DeHart.
Myers said the man looked through the car and took a test drive with the brothers west on U.S. 58 to the vicinity of Hawks Carpet before returning to Dawn Auction. Myers recalled that Williams had two cell phones on him and received call after call, drawing out the process.
Myers let Williams check out the car title and match it up to the vehicle identification numbers visible from outside the driver’s side of the car.
Then Williams produced a gun, stuck it in Terry Myers’ side and announced that it was a hold-up.
Myers recalled that David put up his hands and encouraged his brother to let Williams have whatever he wanted.
Williams looked in David’s direction, standing on the passenger side of the car, and that’s when Terry Myers got his hand on Williams’ gun and pushed it down out of his ribs.
Terry Myers’ hand was still on the gun when it fired, he said. The recoil hurt his hand, but he continued to struggle with Williams.
“I grabbed him again and we went down on the ground,” Terry Myers recalled.
Williams jammed the gun in his side, hard enough to take his breath, Myers testified. He said that Williams was continuing to squeeze the trigger.
He called to his brother to help get Williams off of him, thinking the man was trying to kill him.
Williams managed to push Myers off. He stood up and tried to pull the slide on his gun back.
At that time, Myers heard multiple shots and he watched Williams walk down the parking lot about 25 or 30 feet away with the gun pointed in the brothers’ direction the whole time.
Williams fell and the two brothers sought shelter behind vehicles as Terry Myers called 911, he testified.
Carroll Deputy Shannon Goad showed up then and subdued the suspect.
The whole incident took no more than 15 seconds, it seemed to Myers.
Myers confirmed to DeHart in the cross examination that he got his hand on the slide of Williams’ gun to push the weapon away.
“It went off and it stung my hand,” Myers told the court.
“So it’s safe to say he [Williams] didn’t entirely have control of the weapon?” DeHart asked.
David Myers testified that he was standing on the passenger side of the Impala when the struggle began. Williams pulled a gun out of his pocket and said, “This is a hold up.”
David Myers testified that he heard scuffling and Williams cussing the two brothers.
Williams’ gun went off and the bullet embedded itself in the car hood just a little more than an inch from David Myers, he testified.
David Myers said he got out his .22-caliber pistol and fired at Williams five times as the man stood up after freeing himself from Terry Myers.
“He’d done shot at me and I thought he was trying to kill my brother,” David Myers recalled.
DeHart did not call any defense witnesses.
Judge Turner spoke from the bench to Williams, explaining that the preliminary hearing was not to determine his guilt or innocence, but to find if there was probable cause to send the case to the grand jury.
In the legal system, that’s a fairly “low bar,” he said, and Turner found that the prosecution had met that requirement through the testimony of the two brothers.
“I’ve heard enough,” the judge said. “I’m sending it up to the grand jury and that’s all.”
As the three bailiffs that stood behind the defense table during the hearing moved Williams back to lockup, some of the nine people watching the case in the audience told him they loved him.