Senior found guilty of 2012 murder

By Natalie Fultz

COLUMBUS – Charles Willis III was sitting in his car, stopped at a corner of Lawyers Lane and Seventh Street, exchanging words with Oscar James Senior. Seconds later he was fatally shot by Senior. Today, a jury spent less than 45 minutes to find Senior guilty and only a matter of minutes for Judge Maureen Gottfried to decide the future for Senior.

Her decision? Life without parole.

“Mr. Senior had a long criminal history. He was a dangerous person,” Don Kelly, assistant district attorney says.

“I think he was shocked. I thought he was going to cry. It’s a difficult moment especially with the sentence of life without parole,” Vicki Novak, public defender says.

The victim’s family says they got closure, but were shocked the defendant didn’t issue an apology.

“He was sitting there with no remorse whatsoever after taking a life, that was my nephews’s life. He did not deserve to be murdered. The punishment that you got was deserved,” Ladell Baskin, victim’s aunt says.

No murder weapon was ever recovered, but three eye witness testified Senior was the shooter. As for the defense, they stand by their argument that there was indeed another shooter.

“It was established that it was a revolver and that revolver holds 5-6 shots. We had way more bullet holes than that,” Novak says.

“There was no evidence that supported a second shooter,” Kelly says.

The state, nor the defense, could produce what initially led to the fatal shooting that day.

“My brother is still not here. It hurts. I miss the phone calls, the laughter, all of it,” Shauntaviaus Willis says.

Novak says Senior will be filing an appeal next week.

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