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News & Reviews
Over a decade ago, Guilbert Cruz-Reyes was robbed at gunpoint while mowing a lawn in North Miami-Dade. Detectives arrested the shooting suspect, Kamal Williams.
Two years later, Cruz-Reyes sat down for a deposition with the suspect’s defense lawyers. Within days of that deposition in April 2010, Cruz-Reyes again became a victim — when a group of gunmen unleashed over 40 bullets into the man’s house.
Cruz-Reyes was critically wounded, but lived after weeks in a coma. His cousin, Wilfredo Urbina, visiting from Honduras, did not survive his wounds.
Jurors late Wednesday convicted Sabian Godfrey, 28, one of the gunman who launched the attack in April 2010 on behalf of Williams. Godfrey was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder, witness tampering and retaliating against a witness with a firearm.
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He faces an automatic sentence of life in prison. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jose Fernandez will sentence him in the coming weeks. Godfrey was the final defendant left in the murder case.
Williams pleaded guilty and agreed to 40 years in prison. His brother, Hasan Williams, and another man, Lonnie Jones, also pleaded guilty for their roles in the killing, although prosecutors did not call any of them to testify. They have yet to be sentenced.
The Williams siblings are well-known to police and prosecutors. A brother, Wayne Williams, is serving 17 years in prison for a horrific double-murder carjacking in Miami Gardens in July 2011.
Godfrey was also charged with the 2010 murder of a pregnant woman, Nakeshia Ellis, but prosecutors had to drop the case when the key eyewitness was deported to Haiti.
At his trial, which lasted more than a month, prosecutors Michael Von Zamft and Sonali Desai laid out a complicated and circumstantial case.
Cellphone records placed Godfrey at the scene, and casing the house hours before the shots were fired, prosecutors told jurors. Godfrey was later arrested with one of the pistols used in the attack. He also confessed to a lawyer, Rod Vereen, who was not representing him, that he’d previously used the AK47 used in the ambush that killed Urbina.
And prosecutors played hours of jail calls they say showed Williams planning the killing with Godfrey and the others. They often spoke in coded language, calling rifles “sticks” and saying they had to “negotiate.”
“What does ‘negotiate’ mean? Kill,” prosecutor Sonali Desai told jurors Tuesday during closing arguments.
Defense lawyer Scott Sakin argued that there were no witnesses and the cell records didn’t prove Godfrey was actually the one using the phone. Jurors deliberated about two hours.