Former corrections officer in court on charge of murder

2014-07-27T00:00:00Z Former corrections officer in court on charge of murder The Times and Democrat

James Williams, a former corrections officer, stood before an Orangeburg County magistrate Saturday morning to be formally charged with murder.

The 69-year-old Brown Street man is accused of killing 26-year-old Phillip Brunson at the Corner Pocket Club, which Williams owns. He has also been charged with possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the July 19 incident.

Williams had little to say during the court hearing.

When Magistrate Donald West asked him about his occupation, Williams quietly said he’s a retired captain from the Department of Corrections in New York.

He’s been living at his Brown Street address for 20 years, he told West.

Williams also indicated that he would retain a private attorney to represent him in the case.

A few members of Brunson’s family were in the courtroom at the Orangeburg County Law Enforcement Complex for the hearing. A victim’s advocate said they were present to support the court.

West explained that due to the nature of the charges Williams faces, it is the responsibility of a circuit court judge to set bond.

A date has not yet been set for his appearance before a circuit court judge.

According to a Sheriff’s Office incident report, witnesses gave conflicting statements as to what happened the night the Pineland Street man was shot to death.

Williams told deputies Brunson attempted to enter the Goff Avenue club with a pistol, the report said. He said when the man drew close to the building, Brunson fired at a glass door.

Williams said he then pulled his firearm and returned fire, striking Brunson in the shoulder, according to the report.

A woman told investigators she and Brunson had been kicked out of the club due to a fight, the report said. She said other clubgoers were physically pulling Brunson away from the building when a man stepped outside and fired a single shot.

Another witness said Brunson returned to the club with a gun, “down by his right side and walked up to the front door,” the report says. During a struggle between Williams and Brunson, Williams gained control of the weapon and shot Brunson, the witness said.

That witness said he was later assaulted after investigators left the scene. He said a clubgoer accused him of being a “snitch,” and knocked to the ground after being struck three times.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD.

Contact the writer: 803-533-5545​

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(8) Comments

  1. Jmack
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    Jmack - July 29, 2014 12:17 am
    i would be hurt of course if it was my child but if my child did wrong by grabbing a gun becuz he got in a silly fight violence does not solve anything ... he was grown he should of known right from wrong the owner was standing his ground and protecting his club no telling how many people kids he would of killed that night becuz of a silly fight
  2. Jmack
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    Jmack - July 29, 2014 12:11 am
    Let.him.free he was protecting his.property the young man was the one who started shooting because he was mad he prolly got beat up he could of killed alot of people The owner saw somebody shooting went to the back got his gun and shot at him and i would keep a gun too thats a rough neighborhood
  3. Jmack
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    Jmack - July 29, 2014 12:02 am
    So this what really happened dude got in a fight at the club that female witness was helping him fight he got mad wanted to shoot at the dudes he was fighting he pop some.bullets owner didnt want nobody shooting on his property got mad at the person who was shooting and shot him..
  4. Brownsugar
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    Brownsugar - July 28, 2014 7:57 pm
    For one thing a child has died. If it was your child what would you do? change the story of eye witness to.make other people think that that he is SNITCH come on Orbg. The truth is what his DEAR FAMILY ONLY WANTS TO KNOW'..................
  5. BurgMostWanted
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    BurgMostWanted - July 27, 2014 12:29 pm
    Smh oburg court system is a joke, they'll lock you up for killing a roach if he did no harm to you
  6. medicmom72
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    medicmom72 - July 27, 2014 11:21 am
    I agree.
  7. BruinPride2010
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    BruinPride2010 - July 27, 2014 10:00 am
    WRONGFUL CONVICTION. IF PHILLIP WASNT SO MAD AND WENT 2 THE CAR TO GET HIS GUN HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ALIVE TODAY. THIS CLUB OWNER PROTECTED SO MANY LIVES BEVAUSE PHILLIP CAME BACK AND SHOT 1
    TIME INSIDE THE CLUB AND THEN THE CLUB OWNER SHOT HIM. BUT OF COURSE NOBODY IS GOING TO COME FORWARD AND TELL THE TRUTH SINCE HE DIED AND THEY ANGRY.
  8. medicmom72
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    medicmom72 - July 27, 2014 7:37 am
    If he gets a good lawyer he will probably be able to get probation b/c of all the conflicting eyewitness statements. You know his lawyer is going to say the majority of the eyewitness' were intoxicated and aren't creditable because they were consuming ETOH.
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