Xenia man faces federal murder charges

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

WILMINGTON — A Xenia man is facing federal murder charges stemming from a January incident in Wilmington.

According to a release from David M. DeVillers, United States attorney, Southern District of Ohio, a federal grand jury charged Joshua Cordell Lee Williams, 19, with firearms-related murder and possessing with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.

The release said court documents show on Jan. 21, 2020, Williams met with four individuals in Wilmington to sell them marijuana. The individuals had intended to meet Williams and take the marijuana without paying, according to court records.

DeVillers said a struggle ensued between the individuals and Williams, who was armed with a firearm during the transaction. Williams fired the weapon, shooting the victim, Layne Hall, in the chest and fatally injuring him, according to DeVillers.

“Far too often, the combination of drug transactions and firearms results in death. As alleged, this case involves a fatal shooting over a few pounds of marijuana,” he said. “This case — the first ever federal murder case in Cincinnati — highlights this office’s emphasis on combatting violent crime.”

Williams was arrested by U.S. Marshals on a federal warrant last week, according to Clinton County Prosecutor Richard Moyer, and was ordered to remain in custody pending trial. If convicted, Williams faces up to life in prison, the release said.

DeVillers, Moyer, Chris Hoffman, special agent in charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens, Xenia Police Chief Randy Person, and the Greater Warren County Drug Task Force announced the charges.

“The violence associated with the illegal drug trade is a scourge on our communities,” Hoffman said. “When law enforcement agencies partner together in a task force environment, as in this case, we can better attack these issues and remove dangerous criminals from the streets.”


By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507. John Hamilton of the Wilmington News Journal contributed to this story.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507. John Hamilton of the Wilmington News Journal contributed to this story.