“A detective showed Williams a photo of Wallace and referred to the victim as a Muslim woman. Williams then said: ‘Muslim woman? If she was a Muslim woman none of this (expletive) would even exist.'” If only she had been more properly Islamic, she might be alive today. Yet this case is unlikely to spur any public discussion of Islamic honor killing, or of why Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. Such a discussion would be “Islamophobic.”
Robert Williams said he was sorry for killing his wife, Sharene Wallace.
But Williams received stern words from the sentencing judge on Friday for slaughtering her and then trying to strip her of “all dignity” by hiding her body in a closet.
Visiting County Judge Andrew Ceresia ordered the 41-year-old city man to serve 25 years to life in prison for the May killing.
“Every day, I have to live with regret and remorse,” Williams said, speaking in low tones. “I am way beyond remorseful.”
Ceresia acknowledged Williams’ remorse and the fact that he did not deny killing Wallace, but called the crime reprehensible.
“You attempted to strip all dignity from this woman by stuffing her in a closet,” the judge said.
Wallace, 37, known as Sakina, was stabbed more than 30 times in the neck inside 279 Sherman St. sometime between May 26 and May 29. Williams, who fled to New York City in an attempt to avoid arrest, admitted the killing to friends and spoke at length with Albany police.
The jury needed just over an hour to convict him of second-degree murder on Jan. 17.
Wallace’s aunt, Gladys Brangman, spoke on behalf of her family, asking the judge to impose the maximum sentence.
“We are all angry, hurt, frustrated and sickened,” she said.
Brangman said Wallace’s sisters and children are trying to learn how to live without her.
“None of our lives will ever be the same,” she said.
Chief Assistant District Attorney David Rossi requested that Williams receive the maximum sentence. “There is no justification for what happened,” he said.
Williams’ attorney, Michael Jurena, asked for leniency, noting that Williams, a convicted sex offender, did not deny killing Wallace.
During the trial, Rossi told jurors that Williams believed Wallace was cheating on him, but killed her because he objected to her behavior in their Muslim community.
He played for the jury part of Williams’ videotaped interview with police. A detective showed Williams a photo of Wallace and referred to the victim as a Muslim woman. Williams then said: “Muslim woman? If she was a Muslim woman none of this (expletive) would even exist.”
Jurena argued Williams killed his wife because of an “extreme emotional disturbance,” which is a defense in New York state against a murder charge, giving a jury the option to consider manslaughter.
Jurena conceded Williams killed Wallace, but said Wallace went at his client with knives and that his client was drunk at the time.