Man convicted of murdering college basketball player in Alabama in 2017

RUSSELL COUNTY, Alabama (WRBL) — After five years and a trial caused by a hung jury in 2020, the family of a slain 19-year-old basketball player, Quoyai Shorter, receives long-awaited closure for his 2017 shooting death.

On November 30, Steven Williams, 48, appeared before Judge David Johnson via Zoom. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the shooting of Shorter. Wednesday’s sentencing brought the family the closure they needed.

“I can say it took a heavy weight off everyone’s shoulders knowing justice has been served and it has also brought peace to our family,” said Quoyai’s sister, Shonna Shorter. “For us I think it’s really brought peace to the family to know that he’s off the streets and that justice will finally be done, it’s been five years so it’s about time.”

Shorter was killed a year after graduating from Smiths Station High School in 2016, where he played basketball before playing collegiately at Wentworth Military Academy in Indiana. He would later play for Johnson & Wales in North Carolina. His family says that if he were alive today, he would have graduated. While his legacy has been curtailed, they remember his spirit that lives on.

“Quoyai was a cheerful person who encouraged me. he was my brother And of course that sister-brother bond. His energy around him, you would never be upset or sad. He always found a way to lift you up,” Shonna Shorter said.

“He was a lovely kid. I thank God that justice has been done. It took a long time to come, but now we have peace. We just want to give God all the praise and glory for bringing this to an end. Now we can all rest in peace and thank God that justice has been done to us,” said Shorter’s grandmother, Eva Williams.

This case was the final murder trial of Russell County District Attorney Ken Davis. He is the country’s longest-serving elected prosecutor. His successor, Chief Deputy and Russell County District Attorney-Elect Rick Chancey, says Davis insisted that the trial be rolled back to ensure justice was done.

“This is someone who meant a lot to him. It’s been on his mind for a while. You have a young kid, a popular young man, a very bright future who was shot right outside his home,” Chancey said. “Mr. Davis was, I think, very pleased that he was able to hang around and not back off until that process was complete.”

Davis has spent the past 40 years bringing peace to families across Russell County, almost to his final day, which is scheduled for December 15.