A Baltimore County judge said Friday that each of the two men convicted in a fatal Towson shooting last December should spend the "balance of his natural life" behind bars.
Judge Robert E. Cahill sentenced Frank Theodore Williams, 32, of Baltimore Highlanda and William Ward III, 45, of Baltimore to life without parole for the first-degree murder conviction as a result of their roles in the fatal December shooting at Towson Town Center.
"Wherever life takes either of these defendants ... there will be violence, brutality and bloodshed," Cahill said in handing down his sentence.
During the hearing, prosecutor Robin Coffin read from a letter from an aunt of Pridget, which described the slain teen as a boy who faced many challenges, including his mother's death four years prior, but had so much potential. She described the crime as a "senseless, violent act committed when they were going about their business, doing something as innocent as Christmas shopping."
Mall surveillance video shown during the trial showed Ward, Williams, alleged gunman Tyrone Brown and accomplice Jermell Brandon communicating by cell phone as they followed Pridget through the mall on Dec. 19. Brandon, who struck a plea deal with prosecutors, testified that the shooting was gang-related and that it was retailiation for Pridget allegedly shooting Williams' cousin.
"Whether or not that's true, Rodney Pridget deserved a trial," Coffin said. "They cared not that the execution was six days before Christmas in one of the most crowded malls in this county. They cared not. They were the law."
In the sentencing hearing, Coffin also discussed both men's extensive criminal records. For Williams, that includes drug convictions, a conviction for conspiracy to commit robbery in 1993 and second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer in 2009, for which he was paroled in January of 2011. William Ward was found guilty of several robberies in the 1980s and 1990s, including three in 1997, for which he was paroled after five years of a 15-year sentence.
Since then, friends called by his defense said in the sentencing hearing, he had been an active member of his church and his community, mediating disputes and acting as a father figure for teens.
"He had a positive impact and a big impact in his community," said Ward's attorney, Michelle Moodispaw.
Coffin also said Williams, while in the Baltimore County Detention Center before his trial, went from cell to cell with another prisoner and threatening other inmates as part of an apparent prison gang.
Neither defendant opted to say anything on his behalf. Moodispaw and Hoss Parvizian, Williams' public defender, both said they intend to appeal.
Cahill also issued a suspended sentence on handgun use in a violent crime and conspiracy to commit first degree murder.