Yonkers man gets prison in Mount Vernon DWI fatal
Rhonda Richardson says the first and only time she met the man who would kill her daughter in a drunken-driving crash, she asked him to take care of her baby.
"Kelly was not just my only daughter, my baby, but my best friend," Richardson said of Kelly Williams in a statement read in court Tuesday. She added: "Even the good memories ... hurt because I know there will be no more, and my heart and soul want more."
Richardson spoke at the sentencing of William Watkins-Gomes, who pleaded guilty in March to vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and several other charges. The Yonkers man, 27, was sentenced to 1 1/3 to four years in prison.
Before the plea, Watkins-Gomes had faced up to seven years stemming from the early morning Aug. 4 crash in Mount Vernon that resulted in the death of Williams, 31, a passenger in the car in which the couple were driving.
Williams, known by her nickname "Sunshine," had lived in Yonkers and worked as a supervisor for an organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her family has expressed frustration with the length of Watkins-Gomes' sentence.
"I am ... appalled that there are other, less serious offenses in New York state that carry more time than the one which took the life of our beloved Kelly," her brother, Andre Richardson of Yonkers, said in his statement. "These laws and corresponding sentences need to be addressed and corrected."
He later added: "Countless nights of no sleep, fits of crying, rage and angst have filled my (family's) daily life over the last nine months. I will never get the chance to have a niece or nephew to dote on and help raise."
Watkins-Gomes was pinned during the accident on South Fifth Avenue and brought to Jacobi Medical Center, where he later was arrested, authorities said. His blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was found in his system.
Watkins-Gomes, who has been in jail since last summer, expressed sorrow in court for the tragedy, according to his attorney, and admitted making poor choices that resulted in Williams' death. Attorney Pat Bonanno said of his client."It is our prayer ... and certainly the prayer of the Gomes family that God is close to the Richardson-Williams family today."
Rhonda Richardson said Watkins-Gomes apologized without any feeling and her family still hasn't felt remorse from him. "If I could have one wish, I would not be standing in front of you, but a vibrant young woman with her whole life ahead of her would be here," she said in her statement.
Read the victim's impact statement from Rhonda Richardson, mother of Kelly Williams: