Davontae Marcel Williams
June 13, 1995 - July 26, 2004
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Davontae Williams started out his short life by being born four months premature which left him with developmental disabilities. Dontae's mother, Marcella Williams, was no stranger to CPS and they have visited her home in the year 1999 after complaints were filed about the children in the home being neglected. Davontae was found to have marks on his body that were consistent with having been hit with some type of cording. Lisa Ann Coleman, Marcella's live in girlfriend, denied that she had been hitting the children, however, Marcella admitted that they had tied Davontae up with an extension cord. Davontae and his sister were removed from the home though when Marcella promised to stay away from Lisa the children were returned to her care. CPS would visit the home at least six more times before it was finally too late and Davontae would lose his life.

In July of 2004, Paramedics were called to the home where, once again, Lisa and Marcella were living together. Davontae was found dead in the home, weighing only 35 pounds with more than 250 scars and wounds in various states of healing, Davontae was only nine years old and he weighed less than half of what he should. An autopsy showed that Davontae was suffering with Pneumonia which along with malnutrition was a factor in his death. Marcella and Lisa were arrested and charged with capital murder. In 2006, Marcella Williams, who was 25 years old at the time, plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence rather than take a chance on getting the death penalty.

Lisa was charged with capital murder and two counts of injury to a child. On June 19, 2006, Lisa Ann Coleman, who was 30 years old at the time, was found guilty and sentenced to death for the capital murder charge and 99 years for the child abuse charges. A jury took less than one hour to find Lisa guilty:

"The fact that a female has gotten the death penalty for killing a child, it's a step forward for
bringing child abuse out of the darkness of people's homes and into the light of day"
Prosecutor - Mitch Poe

Fred Cummings, Defense Lawyer for Lisa said that she had not intended to starve Davontae and that she had been giving him nutritional supplement drinks. John Stickels, Lisa's lawyer for her appeal said that she should not have received the death penalty because one of the factors that make a defendant eligible for the death penalty was used as a basis to convict her, but she had never committed the crime. In Texas, in order for the death penalty to be on the table, the defendant had to have committed a second crime and at the time of Davontae's death those crimes were kidnapping, burglary, robbery, obstruction or a terroristic threat, those crimes applied before the year 2011. In 2011, the crime list was changed to include the killing of a child under the age of 10.

In Lisa's case, the secondary crime of kidnapping was applied because Lisa had kept Davontae locked in a pantry and he was no even allowed to leave the house. John Stickels said that there was in fact no basis for the secondary charge of kidnapping according to the laws of Texas and his appeal was based on that claim:

"It is wrong, it is child abuse, but it's not kidnapping. I'm not saying she's innocent and did
not do something wrong. but it's just not kidnapping"

It came out in trial and Lisa and Marcella had tied Davontae's wrists together and put him in the pantry and John Stickels stated that the law defines kidnapping as putting a person into an area with intent to hid that person, he added that is it not kidnapping if a parents puts a child into a room as a form of punishment:

"Lisa is absolutely innocent of capital murder. And if they execute her, they will be executing
who is innocent of capital murder"

In the year 2004, Davontae's case became part of a review of the 1,103 child abuse cases in Texas, a review that was ordered by Rick Perry.  State Healthy And Human Services Commission Office Of Inspector General found that CPS caseworkers had failed at least 70% of the time when it came to a quick response to complaints filed about children who were in danger:

"It appears that CPS Region 3 (Dallas/Fort Worth) was performing at a minimum standard
and often below standards. When abuse or neglect was indicated in the file, only 30% of the
time did CPS Caseworkers implement the appropriate safety steps for the short term protection
of the child"
Brian Flood - Inspector General

On September 17, 2014, after losing her appeals case, Lisa Ann Coleman was executed, she was 38 years old by that time. Lisa said the following before she died:

"I just want to tell my family I love them, my son, I love him. God is good, I'm done"

It took 12 minutes after the drugs were given to her, for Lisa to die, she died at 6:24 p.m. and was the ninth person to be executed in the state of Texas in the year 2014.

At that time, Marcella's family was talking about how they felt she also should have received the death penalty for the suffering that she had helped to put Davontae through and now the execution was bringing it all back to them:

"The Williams family is trying to move on. Be we feel as though she should've gotten the death
penalty as well. You're the mother, you're supposed to protect your child. It feels like it just happened
yesterday, like we are reliving it all over again"
Tracey Williams - Davontae's Aunt

Davontae's family also blames CPS for what happened to him since they had been to the home many times and the children were not protected the way they should have been. Below is a statement made by Davontae's family:

We would like the public & the Coleman family to know that our prayers go out to them. From the beginning of this situation we have always prayed & left it in Gods hands. We have always felt that whatever God allowed to happen to Lisa & Marcella concerning Davontae's death that we would have to be pleased with it.

However, even though Marcella is our niece, we didn't understand how they could give Lisa the death penalty & not Marcella, being that she was the mother of Davontae. We feel as though she should have gotten the death penalty as well because they both tormented & abused him, but we left this situation in the hands of the justice system & God.

We the Williams family believe in what's right & we don't just blame Lisa for Davontae's death, we [also] blame Marcella & CPS for the death. CPS was called 16 times concerning Davontae's abuse, but they failed to do anything about it there excuse was that the family got lost in the system  I pray that Lisa made her peace with God & I hope that Marcella has done the same. As for the Williams family, we are moving forward in peace because we know that Deviant is in a much better place! This is not a win-win situation because the Coleman family has lost Lisa, & we have lost Davontae & his mother.


Davontae Marcel Williams, 9, passed away Monday, July 26, 2004, in Arlington.

FORT WORTH -- Friends and relatives gathered over the weekend to say goodbye to 9-year-old Davontae Williams, whose lifeless, emaciated and bruised body was found in his mother's North Texas apartment.

Davontae weighed just 35 pounds, about half the average weight for a child his age, when his body was found July 26. His 23-year-old mother, Marcella Williams, and her partner, Lisa Ann Coleman, 28, remained in the Tarrant County Jail on charges of serious injury to a child.

The 80 people who attended the boy's funeral on Saturday thanked God for allowing him to finally rest and asked God to calm their troubled hearts.

"I'm just happy this day is finally over and he's in a better place," Lisa Coleman's aunt, Connie Coleman, said in Sunday's editions of The Dallas Morning News. "God loves him more than we did."

Child Protective Services investigated Davontae's family six times before he died, but Marcella Williams frequently moved her family to avoid caseworkers, the agency said.

Friends described Marcella Williams as wary of authority, especially hospitals, doctors or anyone who could lead her family back to CPS, which took custody of Davontae and his sister for 11 months in 1999 and 2000.

Still, Angela Coleman, Lisa Coleman's 19-year-old cousin, said Marcella Williams has denied killing Davontae.

Thank you to Rebecca and Danetta for sending me this story.

Death occurred in the state of Texas
This page was created on September 29, 2014

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