A Jackson County judge on Friday sentenced a Kansas City man to 18 years in prison for his role in a 2013 home invasion robbery that left a Kansas City college student dead and several others wounded.
Anthony J. “Tony” Williams will have to serve more than 15 years before becoming eligible for parole.
Aaron Markarian, a 23-year-old senior baritone at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, died after being shot during the robbery. He was to graduate about six weeks later with a degree in vocal performance.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Kathleen Forsyth sentenced Williams to 18 years on one count of second-degree murder.
She also sentenced him to 10 years on first-degree robbery and first-degree assault charges and three years each on five counts of armed criminal action. Williams had pleaded guilty to the charges in February. All the sentences will run concurrently.
In January, another Jackson County judge sentenced co-defendant Alonzo D. Ruff to 30 years in prison. Ruff had pleaded guilty to killing Markarian and shooting three other people in the attack.
Stephen Deyo, Aaron Markarian’s younger brother, said Friday that the pain of his brother’s murder remains difficult to bear.
“Unlike the other victims, I don’t have a scar, but the wound will never heal and I will miss him for the rest of my life,” he said while sobbing.
Friends and relatives of Williams testified to his character, remembering his years of volunteer service at St. Matthew Apostle Catholic Church in south Kansas City. The Rev. James Taranto, a former St. Matthew pastor, described Williams’ service as a volunteer on church mission trips.
Marie “Rusty” Williams, the defendant’s adoptive mother, said she prays Markarian’s family finds peace.
“Your grief is unimaginable,” she said, adding that “I hope that one day you can forgive us.”
Anthony Williams also apologized for his actions.
“I am deeply sorry for your loss,” he told family members. “I’m sorry you lost your son; I’m sorry you lost your brother. I accept full responsibility for everything that happened that night.”
Dawn Parsons, chief trial assistant for the prosecutor’s office, told Forsyth that Markarian’s murder did not have to occur and that the victims already had handed over money and cellphones before the shooting began.
Further, she added, had the victims still possessed their cellphones, they could have called 911 sooner.