Doniphan, MO man to spend his life in prison for murder - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Doniphan, MO man to spend his life in prison for murder

Michael Futrell (Source: Doniphan Police Department) Michael Futrell (Source: Doniphan Police Department)

A Doniphan, Missouri man will spend the rest of his life in prison for murder.

A jury found Michael Futrell guilty on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in January.

Futrell will not be eligible for parole.

He shot and killed Manuel Williams in Doniphan in 2014.

Cape Girardeau County Judge Benjamin Lewis also sentenced him to 50 years in prison on the armed criminal action charge.

Michael Futrell appeared in court today at the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse for a sentencing hearing. 

The courtroom was nearly full at the time Futrell approached the bench in front of Judge Benjamin Lewis. Futrell wearing an orange jumpsuit and was shackled at the wrists and ankles. Manuel Williams's family were waiting and listening to every word. 

Before Judge Lewis sentenced Futrell, he gave members of the Williams family an opportunity to come forward and speak to Lutrell himself.

Jerry Williams walked up and stood roughly less than 10 feet away from Futrell. 

Williams spoke about a letter that his grandson wrote to Futrell about his feelings towards him in killing Manuel Williams. 

"He wanted you to have this letter," Jerry said to Futrell. 

Jerry also spoke his own thoughts to Futrell. 

"I forgive you," Jerry said. "I don't have resentment against you. This letter says it all."

As Jerry walked back to sit down, Manuel's sister walked up in front of Futrell with the letter in hand from her son. 

"Dear Michael, Falechia Williams read. "I forgive you. He was my best friend. I was devastated when his life was taken."

Futrell listened very intently as Falechia read the rest of the letter to him. She ended with her own personal thoughts and told him she forgave him as well. 

Futrell had little to say but replied to the Williams's family. 

"Wish things have gone better between us," Futrell spoke. "I really didn't know him."

Judge Benjamin Lewis, before handing down Futrell's sentence, spoke his own thoughts to Futrell about the shooting.

"You had an argument, left and came back with a gun and shot him," Judge Lewis said. "It was one of the senseless and cold blooded murders I've ever read about."

Judge Lewis then sentenced Futrell for life without the eligibility of parole for the first degree murder charge and 50 years for the armed criminal action charge. 

Futrell was ordered to spend his time in the Missouri Department of Corrections consecutively for the two sentences handed to him. 

After Futrell and the Manuel Williams's family walked out of the courtroom, Jerry and Falechia told us that after the shooting occurred, they initially had resentment but felt differently now towards Futrell. 

They credit Falechia's son with their change of heart to forgive Futrell. 

"The letter that my grandson had written, his mother standing here with me, actually said it all," Jerry Williams said. "It was a great relief to even to hear that being read in the courtroom what he had to say from the heart."

"My son had found Christ when all this had happened," Falechia added. "He had forgiven Michael Futrell for doing it and he wanted Michael Futrell to bring Christ in his life too."

Jerry said they are glad it's all over with and is pleased with Futrell's sentence. Jerry also said that they will forever keep Manuel's memory in their hearts. 

"One good thing about photographs, photographs stop time," Jerry added. "I have photographs of my son and time is stopped and I'll remember him as he was. And that's the greatest thing, and his children which are my grandchildren. So, his legacy will be carried on."

According to Attorney General Josh Hawley, witnesses testified that on August 29, 2014, the victim and Futrell argued at a small going-away party for a friend Williams. Futrell was asked to leave and returned 15-20 minutes later with a .40 caliber handgun.

The witnesses went on to say Futrell walked up the driveway and shot Williams in the chest, dropping the victim to his knees and executed Williams with a second shot to the back of the head.

"I am proud of our attorneys' hard work to ensure this violent and repeat offender suffers the serious consequences for his actions," said Attorney General Josh Hawley. "Our office will prosecute those who ask to harm our communities to the fullest extent of the law. We have zero tolerance for violent crimes and the criminals who commit them."

The case was being tried in Cape Girardeau County on a change of venue request.

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