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‘Butcher of Dowagiac’ sent to prison for two stabbings

Published 9:30am Tuesday, February 2, 2010

By AARON MUELLER
Dowagiac Daily News

CASSOPOLIS – Kevin Williams, dubbed “the Butcher of Dowagiac” by prosecuting attorney Victor Fitz, is headed to prison.

Williams, a four-time habitual felony offender, was given a prison sentence of 25 to 50 years with 356 days credit already served for assault with intent to commit murder in Cass County Circuit Court Friday.

He also must pay $118,855 restitution.

Williams, 42, was convicted in a jury trial in December of stabbing neighbors Robert Kirkland and his girlfriend Clara Peters with a butcher knife and leaving them for dead.

Both survived the incident in February of 2009, but suffered significant injuries.

“He did not care for them or the consequences,” Fitz said Friday. “He left them for dead. This will haunt the victims and their families for the rest of their lives. We ask for a sentence that would give them a peace of knowing that this butcher of Dowagiac would not return to this society.”

Pam Kirkland, Robert’s daughter, spoke on his behalf at the sentencing.

“Mr. Williams has no remorse for what he’s done,” she said. “My father is the nicest, kindest man. And (Williams) has shown no remorse. I’m afraid if he”s allowed to walk the streets, he’ll hurt my father or someone else.”

Williams still maintained his innocence.

“I’ve always loved your family,” he said to Kirkland and Peters. “I had no reason to hurt you. I have done nothing wrong. I’ve never done anyone harm in my community and never will I. Only the three of us know the truth.”

The incident took place Feb. 7 when Williams, who knew Kirkland and Peters well, entered their home on Cora Street in Dowagiac, possibly to obtain cocaine.

He first stabbed 50-year-old Peters in the back with a five-inch butcher knife.
Williams then stabbed Kirkland near the head and then in the back with a thrust that broke the handle off the knife.

Williams then took a friend’s car and fled the scene and was later arrested in Herculaneum, Mo.

Peters and Kirkland were flown to Kalamazoo’s Borgess Medical Center, where their lives were saved.

Defense attorney Sidney Tall claimed there was no provocation for the assault.
“He has no history of mistreating anyone physically,” Tall said. “This trial did not provide a reason why.”

Judge Michael Dodge still gave Williams a hefty sentence.

“You had a different version of how the victims were injured,” Dodge said. “But the jury obviously did not accept and did not see it as credible.”

Also sentenced Friday was Matthew Spicher, 19, of Coloma. He was given a two- to 20-year prison sentence with credit for 138 days for a series of break-ins. He must also pay $2,723 restitution.

“This was a disturbing incident,” Fitz said of home invasions that involved 22 victims.
“They were on a war path of home invasions.”

His clean record before the incidents and his cooperation with the criminal justice system earned him a more lenient sentence recommendation from the prosecution.

Spicher was remorseful at his sentencing.

“I’d like to apologize,” he said. “I’m ashamed of myself and can’t believe I did it.”
Also a Dowagiac man Curtis Smith, 49, was sentenced to 330 days in jail with 69 days credit for carrying a concealed weapon.

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