In a trial that lasted four days, Neal Bland was found guilty of capital murder on Friday, February 5, for his role in the senseless killing of 22-year old Joshua Dorrell Woods for his Nike Air Jordan XI ‘Bred’ sneakers that retail for about $185, back on Dec. 21, 2012.
In a story brought to you last month entitled, “The Long Wait for Justice: Mother Anxious to Begin Trial for Son Murdered over Air Jordan Sneakers,” the Forward Times spoke with the mother, Dazie Williams, and told readers about the long wait for justice that she has had to endure while anxiously awaiting word that the four young men responsible for her son’s murder would finally be brought before the courts to answer for their alleged crime and provide the first step towards some much needed closure.
Bland, 22, was found guilty by the jury and then received the automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The judge swiftly issued sentencing.
In an exclusive interview after the sentencing, Williams shared her thoughts about the trial’s outcome.
“This was a no-win situation,” said Williams. “My daughter and I are at the cemetery now telling Joshua what happened today and that the man who killed him received life without the possibility of getting out of jail to hurt anyone else.”
As Williams and Joshua’s sister sat on the ground, Williams reflects on the entire ordeal, as well as the entire experience in court.
“As I sat in that courtroom, it was if Neal Bland was being viewed as the victim by his family and Joshua wasn’t even thought about by them,” said Williams. “He (Bland) wouldn’t even look at me for 5 seconds when I gave my statement. The whole trial, he had been looking at us laughing and smirking, and when the judge asked him to say something I was hoping that he would say something and show that he had at least an ounce of remorse, but he said nothing.”
While she feels as if some of the weight has been taken off her shoulders, Williams is still having to cope with the fact that her son has been taken away from her, and is no longer around.
“Neal Bland’s mother won’t have to sit on the ground at the cemetery like I’m having to do right now,” said Williams. “His mother will be able to go to the prison, pull up a chair and pick up the telephone to talk to her son. I am left with the last image of my son being having his scalp pulled back with his brain showing, because he had just been shot over some high-priced rubber. Although he is going to prison, I truly hope Neal Bland and his family realize that he has something that I will never have and that Joshua’s son will never have again; the ability to see his face and hear his voice. I would take that over Neal Bland killing my son and receiving a life sentence any day.”
According to court records, two of the other three remaining suspects in the case are scheduled to go on trial later this month. They are also charged with capital murder and facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. It is not clear whether any of the suspects has taken a plea deal.
The Forward Times will continue to follow this case involving the remaining suspects, and will keep its readers updated as more details emerge.