One of R. Kelly’s friends will be joining him in jail after torching the car of an abuse victim.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in downtown Brooklyn sentenced Michael Williams to eight years in prison for setting fire to a vehicle used by one of Kelly’s victims, Fox 5 NY reports.
Williams is reportedly the cousin of Kelly’s former publicist and apparently felt so compelled over the singer’s fate that he attempted to take matters into his own hands. Now he’ll do hard time.
He is accused of pouring gasoline onto the victim’s SUV and torching it while parked outside a house in Florida in June 2020. The victim was scheduled to testify against Kelly in court. Williams pleaded guilty to arson back in April and will have to pay restitution in addition to his 96-month sentence.
“In a violent act designed to instill fear and stop a witness from testifying at trial, Williams set fire to the victim’s vehicle in the middle of the night while it was parked outside of a residence occupied by four adults and two children. U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.
“Intimidating witnesses and threatening the safety of crime victims undermine the very fabric of our judicial system and will never be tolerated.”
Despite setting her car on fire to intimidate her against testifying, the victim still took to the stand in August and gave disturbing testimony that was essential in finding the disgraced signer guilty on all counts, BuzzFeed reports.
The victim, identified as “Jane Doe,” wasn’t present in court but had her statement read by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez. The victim is rumored to be Azriel Clary, Kelly’s former girlfriend, who posted pics in her driveway after someone torched her car.
“My mental state deteriorated tremendously due to fear, invasion of privacy, and trauma among many other things. Because of your actions, I live in fear and have had to relocate my entire life,” Jane Doe said.
“My family is traumatized and has been in distress due to this unlawful act. I hope this life-changing event gives you time to reflect on your actions.”