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By DAMON LAWRENCE
Thomas Ray Johnson, accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend in 2005, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter this week in Roane County Criminal Court.
Johnson was originally indicted on second-degree murder in the death of Pamela Nicole Williams of Oliver Springs.
Johnson, 25, was scheduled to go to trial on Tuesday.
As part of his plea deal, prosecutors recommended a five-year sentence on the voluntary manslaughter charge.
Johnson faced as many as 60 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
Opal Williams, the victim’s grandmother, said she was disappointed in the outcome of the case.
“But there’s nothing I can do about it,” Williams said. “He did beat her, but I can’t prove it.”
Williams was 18 when she died in August 2005. Emergency room personnel at the University of Tennessee Medical Center gave statements to authorities that painted Johnson as an abuser. Angie Randolph, a CT technologist at the hospital, gave a witness statement recounting the victim’s de-meanor in the hospital.
The statement said that each time hospital personnel tried to strap Williams down, she would begin yelling and screaming, “Tommy get off me,” “Let me up Tommy,” and “Don’t hurt me Tommy.”
Randolph also said Williams’ injuries were inconsistent with a bike fall, which was first reported as the cause of her injuries.
“Her face was not cut up and we could find no scratches,” Randolph said. “It did not appear that she had been involved in a bike wreck, but it did appear that she had been punched in the face.”
Williams entered the hospital on Aug. 7 and died on Aug. 11. Authorities had said her condition started to deteriorate after a visit from Johnson.
Opal Williams said she had raised her granddaughter since she was 3 years old. If Johnson comes up for parole before the end of his sentence, Opal Williams hopes to get a chance to address the parole board and contest any early release.
She said she owes that to her granddaughter.
“I think about my granddaughter all the time,” she said. “Everyday. I miss her a lot.”