Lawmaker, Activists Calls For Pardon Of Arsonist Who Was 'Protesting'

A Missouri state representative wants the governor to pardon a man who set fire to a gas station convenience store.

St. Louis, MO – A Missouri lawmaker is among many calling for the governor to pardon a man who was sentenced to eight years for burglarizing and starting a fire in a gas station convenience store during a riot.

"There were no grounds for this harsh of a sentence, especially when his actions inflicted no damage or harm whatsoever," Missouri State Representative Bruce Franks Jr. said in a statement.

Joshua Williams, then 19, was caught on video stealing items from a QuikTrip convenience store after looters shattered its glass doors, according to the Associated Press in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Video showed Williams then used lighter fluid to set a fire at the Mobil gas station during the riots that followed the officer-involved shooting of 18-year-old Antonio Martin in Berkeley in December of 2014.

Williams had already been arrested at least twice in Ferguson four months earlier during the protests there for refusing to disperse and unlawful assembly, KMOV reported.

He was an outspoken and visible protester during the riots that followed the August of 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, and appeared on television news at protests and community meetings regularly, almost always wearing a red hooded sweatshirt bearing the words “All American Gymnastics.”

KTVI reported that it was that sweatshirt that made Williams so easy to identify in the video of the fire being set at the gas station convenience store on Dec. 24, 2014.

In November of 2015, Williams pleaded guilty to arson, burglary, and stealing for the incident at the QuikTrip in Berkeley, according to KMOV.

He was sentenced to eight years by a St. Louis County circuit court judge, The Kansas City Star reported.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to impose a 15-year sentence, and Williams’ attorneys had asked for a suspended sentence, according to The Kansas City Star.

Franks called Williams’ eight-year sentence overly “harsh,” according to the Associated Press.

He said Williams had no prior convictions when he started the fire during the Berkeley riot, and that other rioters who were convicted of similar crimes during protests had gotten more lenient sentences.

Comments (18)
No. 1-14
LegalGenius1965
LegalGenius1965

Overly harsh my ass.

LEO0301
LEO0301

Unbelievable! I wonder if Franks would feel the same way if it was his store that was burnt to the ground. The severity of the crime requires a "harsh" sentence.

AnnykaV
AnnykaV

That's some pretty serious shit you'e smoking Franks - "his actions inflicted no damage or harm whatsoever"

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

He was in Ferguson, Berkley, and St Louis. His job must be that of a professional rioter, looter and arsonist. I wonder who is paying him for all his travels and professional aptitude - Soros? He needs to go to jail and no leniency because he shows none and continues to act out.

patsyfoxswanson
patsyfoxswanson

No Damage DUH what about the owner of the store that lost his livelihood? What about the police officers and Firefighters that were placed in danger?

DieselDawg
DieselDawg

Why am I not surprised?

Budman
Budman

This guy is a liberal douche bag!! Sentence is way to soft needs to be much harsher!!

LordSeamus
LordSeamus

Sounds like he's a professional looter and rabble rouser to me. Wonder who's funding him in his travels and his "professional" career?

LaneysSis
LaneysSis

Franks is another one who is changing the face of Missouri getting closer and closer to resemble Chicago. Tuesday is voting day people !! That is the weakest excuse ever. .."He was protesting." Now we will have the "protesting card."

Enough already
Enough already

I wonder how Franks would feel if someone burned his home down as a way of protesting his stupidity?

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

"There were no grounds for this harsh of a sentence, especially when his actions inflicted no damage or harm whatsoever," Missouri State Representative Bruce Franks Jr. said in a statement.

Has anyone else noticed that far left liberal mentalities (as demonstrated by Bruce Franks) always seem to provide overt and illogical leniency to scum like Williams .....just until someone like Franks is directly impacted themselves. Then its completely different. Then they scream and throw their position around and demand something be done. Until scum like Williams are swiftly and severely addressed they continue their animalistic actions . This is the only way to deal with them and the only thing they seem to "understand". Although this particular incident does not warrant it but I do feel we need to bring back the death penalty asap. Why should society pay to such an extent to police, incarcerate, feed,clothe, council and potentially readdress and reincarcerate these miscreants when they are released into society?

Mrs10
Mrs10

I'd love to believe this sends a message to those who think that the right to assemble is analogous to the right to loot, riot, and pillage. But I doubt this will actually sink in to those doing the destruction, nor will it matter to those pulling the strings, such as the groups who pay men like this to make scenes.

DRTice
DRTice

What kind of stupidity is this: "There were no grounds for this harsh of a sentence, especially when his actions inflicted no damage or harm whatsoever," Missouri State Representative Bruce Franks Jr. said in a statement....... The state of Missouri needs to replace this idiot. How would he feel if he robbed and burnt his home? You think he would say there was no harm or damage then. How stupid can a person get? This guy should have been shot for doing this.

jfpriv
jfpriv

If a pardon is granted, political suicide will result for that governor. This POS needs to stay in prison and do his time as well as anyone else that was ID'ed in this riot.