Waterloo man convicted of 1974 murder wins chance at commuted sentence

2013-03-08T20:15:00Z 2013-04-26T16:23:24Z Waterloo man convicted of 1974 murder wins chance at commuted sentenceBy JEFF REINITZ, jeff.reinitz@wcfcourier.com Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

WATERLOO, Iowa --- After 37 years in prison, Rasberry Williams may be getting another chance.

Williams was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder after his neighbor, 40-year-old Lester Givhan, was shot in the head in Waterloo pool hall in 1974.

Now 66, Williams received a favorable recommendation by the Iowa Board of Parole to commute his sentence.

And the Governor’s Office has scheduled a public hearing on the matter for later this month.

The hearing is scheduled for March 27 at the Black Hawk County Courthouse to receive information about how the crime affected the victim’s family and the community, whether Williams has changed while in prison, and any safety concerns,

Williams is currently housed at that Anamosa State Penitentiary.

According to Courier archives, Williams and Givhan arguing over at $30 gambling bet at the former George’s Pool Hall on Onieda Street on July 20, 1974. Williams then left the establishment and waited for Givhan to come out and then shot him, police said.

During his 1975 trial, Williams claimed he acted in self-defense. He Givhan had reached for something he assumed was a gun.

Witnesses told jurors that Williams demanded money and picked up a $100 bill after shooting Givhan.

Copyright 2015 Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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