When a murder is not a murder: Matt's Memo

Romeo Williams.

The charges have yet to come and already the public is angry. On our NBC 3 newscast tonight Onondaga County District Attorney told us there would not be a charge of murder filed against 18 year old Romeo Williams. He is the young man accused of attacking and killing 71 year old Jim Gifford in front of the 7-11 two weeks ago.

Bill Fitzpatrick explained there are two facets of a murder charge. It has to be either intentional or committed with depraved indifference to life. The prosecutor tells us a series of Appeals Court decisions have "eviscerated" the charge of depraved indifference making it nearly impossible to prove.

While the grand jury considers whether this ends up being a case of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide Fitzpatrick shed other light on the case. We asked if they have video of the crime taking place. He revealed there is video from inside the store that helps identify the attacker. Video from the surrounding area is not as helpful.

After looking at the video Fitzpatrick and his team were not able to validate the widely reported celebrating by Williams after assaulting Mr. Gifford. The video does not show that happening. Fitzpatrick said, ""The inside tape does not show any whooping or hollering or celebration as has been reported. It does establish identity should that become an issue."

As soon as this interview aired we Tweeted about it and posted to Facebook. It quickly became apparent this non-murder murder has the community upset. It doesn't help that Williams is already out on bail on a weapons charge and has been arrested 14 times in his 18 years.

The Grand Jury should finish its work in the next week or so. Then we'll know exactly what charge will be appropriate in the beating death of a man who spent his life in an unassuming fashion helping others.

Any questions or comment please forward them to I may even use some of your thoughts on NBC 3 News at 5:00, the 10:00 News on CW6 or on

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