The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 15, 2014

Murder victim's wife: 'He didn't deserve this"

JOHNSTOWN — It was one of Sonya Williams’ lasting images of her longtime husband, Tyrone: The New Jersey native swaying in a church choir, belting out gospel songs.

Now, she’s left with haunting thoughts of the 42-year-old man dying alone on Grandinetti Avenue, the victim of a brutal homicide early Sunday.

“That’s the thing I can’t get out of my head right now – the way he left the world,” said Sonya, of South Carolina, Williams’ wife of 13 years until their recent separation.

“No one should die alone,” she said.

On Tuesday, as charges were being filed against three young men, investigators say Tyrone Williams’ family in South Carolina and New Jersey were working on plans to pay their final respects.

“Our marriage didn’t work but this wasn’t a bad guy,” Sonya Williams said. “He was a good, loveable person who didn’t deserve this.”

Tyrone Williams was attending the Johnstown Regional Police Academy, and the class held a moment of silence for him Monday night, Academy Director Bill Richards said.

On Tuesday, Tyrone Williams’ empty desk displayed a blue ribbon

 – a symbol of remembrance for fallen police officers.

Williams was scheduled to graduate from the academy in six weeks and planned to pursue a career in law enforcement, staff have said.

The Newark, New Jersey-based Perry Funeral Home is handling arrangements for Williams, although details weren’t finalized Tuesday, funeral home manager Sam Arnold said.

The funeral home is planning to transport Williams’ body to New Jersey on Wednesday, Arnold said.

Sonya Williams described her husband as a loving father trying to make a better life for himself and his children.

She said Williams, who lived in Oakhurst before moving to Grass Avenue, had been residing in Johnstown for 21/2 years.

While most of his family lives in New Jersey, he had cousins in the area, she said.

Williams loved to joke around, play basketball and – above all – sing, she said.

“He sang in a quartet ... and loved The Canton Spirituals,” Sonya Williams said of the influential Mississippi-based gospel act.

That’s the memory she wants her son to keep – not her husband’s life’s tragic end, she said.

The 10-year-old boy, Tyrone’s youngest – and one of his five children – understands his father is gone. Sonya Williams said she has kept the details private.

“I don’t want him knowing,” she said. “I don’t even want to know any more than I already do.”

She and her son talked to Tyrone Williams on Thursday, just two days before he died.

It’s difficult knowing they didn’t have a chance to say goodbye, Sonya Williams said.

“This wasn’t someone who went out looking for trouble,” she added. “I just can’t understand how someone could take a life.”

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @tddavidhurst

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