Former Savannah, Mo. police officer sentenced to jail, probation

(St. Joseph News Press) – SAVANNAH, Mo. — Before sentencing Anthony Williams on Thursday, Circuit Judge Patrick Robb told the courtroom he relied a lot on the testimony of the man’s wife, Wanda Williams, a Savannah Police Department officer.

“He’s a good man who can’t drink,” the wife said. “It’s like a poison and he’s not the same person.”

She testified that the couple were separated after 10 years of marriage but working to get back together and continue the relationship. She also said she wasn’t afraid of her hard-working and loving husband.

Robb sentenced the defendant to three years for unlawful use of a weapon and four years for domestic assault.

Then the judge suspended the sentences, ordering the defendant to serve 60 days shock detention and complete four years probation with no alcohol, a substance abuse evaluation and any testing or classes required by his probation officer.

“My hope and thought is you should be successful on probation,” Robb said. “I don’t believe you’re a dangerous man.”

Williams, a former Buchanan County Drug Strike Force officer, was out drinking with his friends one night in October before he came home, kicked the door in and resumed a fight with his wife, which led to him choking her, threatening bodily harm and firing his wife’s service revolver. The shooting caused $1,100 in damage to a Savannah patrol car, which the defendant had already fully reimbursed the city.

The state charged Williams, 42, with domestic assault, property damage and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon. In January, he pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and domestic assault.

Before sentencing, Andrew County Prosecutor Steven Stevenson told the court he had issues with the background investigation conducted by Probation and Parole.

“I’ve never had this many omissions from a SAR (background investigation) and an offense summary,” Stevenson said. “At the time it occurred, this was a violent man.”

The report minimized the violence of the assault, he said. The prosecutor argued for something other than probation but made no specific recommendation.

Anthony Williams was a well-known football player and an incredibly reliable law enforcement officer, said Dawn Williams, the defense attorney and a former prosecutor who worked with her client when he served on the Drug Strike Force. The defense attorney told the judge her client would do well on probation, but the key will be not drinking.