The family of the victim of a 2001 homicide victim is infuriated after they found out that the man convicted in her death will be set free.
According to a release sent by the family of Cindy Lassiter Mangum Williams, in 2001, James Williams III killed his father James Williams Jr. and his stepmother, Cindy Lassiter Mangum Williams and hid their bodies in Rubbermaid containers to be found a week later near Shiloh Park in Brandon. He was convicted of both murders in 2005 and given two life sentences to be served consecutively with no possibility of parole.
In April 2021, the U.S Supreme Court passed a ruling that persons under 18 years of age would not be allowed a life sentence without the possibility of parole, and that the families are now required to go before the parole board every year to keep a convicted murderer in prison. Cindy Williams’ family and friends have voiced disagreement with James Williams III’s release either by letters or in person in front of the parole board. During these face-to-face meetings, the family members say they were promised Williams would never be paroled.
On April 15, 2023, Cindy Williams’ sister, Brenda Rankin, received a letter from the parole board stating that James Williams III will be released for parole around May 16, but the family says they did not receive notification of a hearing for the parole hearing.
No family members were given the opportunity to appear before the parole board to protest his release, they said.
Cindy Wiliams’ family vehemently disagrees with the murderer’s release, in a large part because they say James Williams III’s motivation for killing his father and stepmother was for financial gain. The family says that he had believed that by killing them he would inherit $850,000 in life insurance benefits.
In a release, the family said James Williams II’s first attempt to kill his father and stepmother was by poisoning them, and that when that did not work fast enough, he shot them. He then put their bodies in trash bags inside Rubbermaid containers and hid them in a wooded area near Shiloh Park in Brandon.
“James Williams III is a cold-blooded killer that has never shown an ounce of remorse for the murders and subsequent devastation that he created for my family,” said Zeno Mangum, son of Cindy Lassiter Mangum. “We are concerned not only for our personal safety, but also for the safety of anyone who may come in contact with this psychopath.”
“I am so upset by this whole situation. I mourn the loss of my mother and her husband,” Mangum said. “She was taken from me when I was only 20 years old. She was not here for my wedding or to have the opportunity to meet my children. They never had the chance to know what a wonderful person she was. Our family has suffered her loss for the past 20 years.”
Mangum says it is confusing why he or other family members were not notified of the parole hearing and why the same board that assured the family just a year ago that Williams III would never be released has reversed their decision, and that ving to go before the board every year to keep a person in prison that committed two horrific murders and received two life sentences is cruel to the victim’s family.
The family holds that there are no rights for the victims or their family at this point and are asking the Mississippi Parole Board and any public officials for help to keep this murderer in prison where he belongs.