Mother still looking for answers after arrest in cold case murder

Ahmad Jamal Wilkins (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Ahmad Jamal Wilkins (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Ebony Williams
Ebony Williams
The murder scene (February 2009)
The murder scene (February 2009)

By Brandi Cummings - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Police believe they've arrested the man who killed a 22-year-old Columbia woman two years ago. "It took them two years, but they got him," said the victim's mother Maria Magwood.

Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott announced Thursday the arrest of 35-year-old Ahmad Jamal Wilkins. Wilkins is charged with murdering Ebony Williams in her apartment and then setting her home on fire in February 2009.

She can now breathe a sigh of relief now knowing someone has been arrested for killing her only child. "It's been hard," said Magwood, "Still sleepless nights. It's just been hard."

Magwood has waited two years for answers and been holding on to hope that one day the person who killed her daughter, Ebony Williams, would face a judge.

On Tuesday - exactly two years to the day that her daughter died - she got that faithful call. "I was happy that they finally found someone and just sad that she's not here with me anymore," said Magwood.

Magwood stood by watching as police investigated what was inside Ebony's Bethel Bishop apartment. They found the 22-year-old woman bound and burned beyond recognition.

In a news conference Wednesday morning, Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott announced DNA evidence lead to the arrest of 35-year-old Ahmad Jamal Wilkins for the crime. "He was initially questioned during the initial part of the investigation, but at that time, he was not ruled out," said Chief Scott, "But he was not sought as one suspect because we have to look at all factors."

Chief Scott wouldn't say what reason if any Wilkins gave for the crime after his arrest. He would only say Wilkins and Williams were acquaintances. "Why did he do that to my child?" questioned Magwood. It's a question she's hoping to get an answer to on Monday, which is when Wilkins is expected to face a judge.

Wilkins was arrested without incident Wednesday very near to where the murder occurred and is currently being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

Chief Scott said investigators worked tirelessly in bringing some closure to Ms. Williams' family and to the community.

WIS News 10 has learned Wilkins has a long criminal past, dating back to 1991, and includes arrests for criminal sexual conduct with a minor, criminal domestic violence, and armed robbery - just to name a few. In fact, Wilkins was arrested for burglary just last year and was out on bond when he was arrested for the murder of Ebony Williams.

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved.