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16 years old

Sentenced to 50 years


His story

Andy Williams was 14 when he and his father moved from his small hometown in Maryland to Santee, California. But when he began attending his new school his life became harder and harder. Actually he was subjected for months to many and great humiliations by his peers and bullies, who availed themselves of his particularly gentle and simple temper.

On March 5th 2001, Andy killed two schoolboys and injured some others, caught by a reaction impulse.

Andy has always been described as a model boy by his hometown people. Due to his  outstanding disposition, he used to help the elderly in his neighborhood, he would walk with them to help support failing legs from age, he would do errands for them.

According to close family friends, Andy is “shocked and horrified” by what he did. One of his most deep yearnings would be “seek out the unpopular kids in his school to befriend”.

Andy was sentenced to 50 years of prison  by a court for adult offenders on August 2002. This means that when he gets grown-up, he might be condemned to capital punishment. This is why the Community of Sant’Egidio is supporting an appeal to get the sentence set aside. 


The appeal to save Andy

The Community of Sant’Egidio invites  anybody to share its appeal to spare Andy from being sentenced to 50 years of prison sending the following text and the following letter to the Honorable Judge H.J.Exharos by the e-mail written below.



Honorable Governor Gray Davis

We are writing to express our deep concern over the fate of  Charles Andy Williams, sentenced to 50 years of prison by an ordinary court for adults, while he should be tried by a juvenile court, due to his age.

We urge you to intervene on his behalf to prevent this cruel and inhuman punishment from being meted out against him.

We implore you to ensure that this cruel and inhuman sentence is not carried out.

Respectfully Yours

(signature and date)



July 25, 2002

The Honorable Herbert J. Exarhos
El Cajon Superior Court Dept. 11
250 East Main Street
El Cajon, CA 92020

RE: Charles Andy Williams

Dear Judge Exarhos,

This letter has been prepared as an eleventh hour plea for mercy in the sentencing of Andy Williams. We plead with you to please consider using the authority you have vested in you to invoke a variance from the guidelines of the law. This child can be saved and rehabilitated to be a productive member of society.

As the word spread after Andy’s June court appearance, you mentioned the fact that time was of the essence and the law as it stands currently needs attention for some changes. We are currently in the process of mobilizing to go forth in this mission. We intend to carry the word to the people of California that our children, the only true resource this nation has for the future, must not be abandoned in adult prisons.

We at Child in Crisis, are joining together with other national child advocate agencies to schedule a conference to set a national policy to be pursued. There must be continuity in this country for how we deal with our troubled youth. This nation established a juvenile justice system many years ago. Now we are moving away from the guidelines that were put in place to deal with young offenders.

Granted, Proposition 21 appealed to the general public because of the growing fear amongst the population due to gang related activity. As surveys have shown over the last months, there is an overall feeling growing that the people did not truly understand what they voted into law.  Had a thorough reading been given to the text of this, we don’t believe, even with gang related fear, the people would have given their support. The ultimate repercussion of this proposition has now trickled down to the first time young offenders who are so often facing major problems in their lives.

Over the past months, we have continued to emphasize that a crime must not go unpunished. We have continued to stress the need for the juvenile court system to do the job for which they were created. The Honorable James Milliken from right there in San Diego, who sits on the juvenile 

court bench, has expressed his views of concern over children being tried as adults. Police Chief Parks from Los Angeles is another voice who has spoken against Prop. 21's guidelines.

Studies are currently taking place as to the impact of placing children in the adult penal system. Among the completed studies, the findings are all in agreement with each other, IT DOES NOT WORK. CHILDREN BECOME THE OBJECTS OF TORTURE AT THE HANDS OF HARDENED ADULT CRIMINALS.

How can we call ourselves a civilized society when we treat troubled children in this manner?  Proposition 21, as presented to the voters of CA in March 2000, was based on lies. Several corporations, that were hoping to use this opportunity to back Presidential hopeful Pete Wilson and further their own political gains, funded it. They traded children’s lives, and children’s futures in their own selfish pursuit of political clout. The consensus among the ranks is that he thought Prop. 21 would be his claim to victory in the crime fight in this country. From all reports in the past, he has no children of his own. He picked a group that does not have a strong voice on their own behalf. The children became the sacrificial lambs.

We can not give you the format of how we propose to re-do 21. We will be working intensively on that project over the next months. Anything we propose, will carry zero tolerance for acts of violence against law enforcement and public service figures. In turn, we will continue to hope that these officials will show the respect of the citizens in regard to their law-given rights. Inglewood is on everyone’s mind.

We will be networking every agency from one end of this state to the other. We WILL band together to share our ideas for how a revised Prop. 21, or possibly discarded and completely redone 21, will come together.

This letter will be placed on a worldwide site from Rome, Italy. We are asking for the signatures of the people of this earth to show solidarity and support. A conference will take place at the Vatican in September over the subjects involving the treatment of children. Communications with Pope John Paul over children in the adult system is currently on its way to Italy.

Although people from around the world share the same sentiments about the young being tried as adults, at the level you as a Judge in this state will address,  it will ultimately be the people of the state of California who must rethink their principles and act to change the current law.

In Solidarity With Those From All Walks of Life:



Send the appeal and the letter to the following addresses:


Governor Gray Davis

State Capitol Building Sacramento,

 CA 95814 

E-mail: [email protected]

 Fax: 916-445-4633 

Phone: 916-445-2841


Mrs.Randi Flinn

[email protected]

[email protected]