Man who killed Detroit police sergeant girlfriend gets probation after self-defense claim

Eddie Ray-Jr. Johnson, inset: DPD Sgt. Elaine Williams

The man charged with killing a Detroit police sergeant in a 2019 domestic incident inside their Garden City home, will be getting probation.

Eddie Ray Jr.-Johnson was originally facing first-degree murder and felony firearm for the death of Detroit police Sgt. Elaine Willaims in June of 2019. He was offered a plea reduction Friday with a sentence agreement of three years probation after he entered a plea of no contest to manslaughter.

If Johnson violates probation, he'll receive a sentence of 57 months minimum to 95 months maximum to 15 years in prison. With the court deal, the felony firearm charge was dismissed.

Johnson's legal argument was the shooting was in self-defense. When police arrived to their home in the 200 block of Belton they found Johnson had suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Once inside the home the officers discovered the lifeless body of Elaine Williams. She was shot multiple times. Medics arrived at the location and pronounced Sgt. William’s deceased.

"I take all domestic violence cases very seriously," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in a statement. "I also take my role as prosecutor very seriously. "In this case, where both parties were shot with the same gun, the order of events is open to multiple interpretations.

"Considering our burden of proof, we believe this is an appropriate resolution. The decision to offer this plea to this defendant was not what we wanted to do, but it was the just thing to do."

The two were domestic partners who lived together at the time of her death. Williams, a 14-year veteran of DPD at the time of her killing, leaves behind two children, a 4-year-old and a 12-year-old.

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According to investigators Earlier in the evening of June 2, the couple went out with their neighbors on Belton Street to a local bar. After returning to their home the neighbors heard the couple arguing.

One neighbor heard multiple gunshots coming from the house and then saw Johnson leaving the front of the house suffering from a gunshot wound.  

Postmortem toxicology reports show that Sgt. William’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.240 grams per 100 milliliters of blood at the time of her death.  

Medical records for Johnson show that his (BAC) was 0.189 grams per 100 milliliters of blood after admission to the hospital.

Eight .40 caliber shell casings were located inside the residence near Sgt. William’s body.  All eight shell casings were examined by the Michigan State Police Forensic Laboratory.  

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All eight shell casings were identified as being fired from a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol. This pistol was issued to Elaine Williams in the course of her employment as a sergeant with the Detroit Police Department.

Johnson was interviewed by Garden City police officers in his recovery bed after his surgery at Oakwood Hospital.  During two interviews, the defendant stated that he shot Elaine Williams during a struggle after she shot him one time.

Johnson will be sentenced on Friday, June 14, 2024, at 8:45 a.m.

Detroit Police Chief James White released the following statement: 

"The heart of the Detroit Police Department still breaks at the tragic death of Sergeant Elaine Williams. This plea deal is not the outcome that the DPD wanted for Sgt. Williams’ loved ones, but we understand the unique circumstances of this case and therefore accept the Prosecutor’s decision. We remain focused on preventing domestic violence and helping victims, as domestic violence affects all people regardless of their career, relationships or background."