UPDATE: Sentencing for Rockford man found guilty of killing Chaundra Davis

Published: May. 28, 2015 at 12:33 PM CDT
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Updated March 23, 2018, 7:03 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The man found guilty of killing a Rockford mom and then dumping her body in the Rock River back in 2008 learns exactly how long he'll spend behind bars for the crime.

James Williams is sentenced to 70 years for the murder of his girlfriend Chaundra Davis, the maximum amount of time he could have faced.

Davis went missing back in November 2008. Two weeks later her body was found in the Rock River.


Updated January 25, 2018, 5:24 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The jury for the James Williams trial returns with a verdict Thursday.

The jury found Williams guilty in connection the murder of Chaundra Davis.

Criminal Bureau Chief Marilyn Hite Ross listed during closing arguments three times Williams had been convicted of choking women in the past.

She also spoke to the jury about several witness accounts that Williams had allegedly told Davis he was going to kill her. Family for Chaundra Davis say today's verdict is a weight lifted from their shoulders.

"There were no winners here. There were no winners. We got closure for our daughter, which we expected. The other lives that have been intertwined in this situation have also been wrecked," said Chaundra's father James Davis.

Williams was found guilty on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of concealment of a homicidal death.

Williams faces up to 70 years behind bars followed by mandatory supervised release, according to Criminal Bureau Chief Marilyn Hite Ross.

Williams will be back in court on Feb. 13 for a status hearing.


Updated January 24, 2018, 4:24 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The man accused of strangling a Rockford mom and dumping her body in the Rock River testifies in court before closing arguments begin.

Criminal Bureau Chief Marilyn Hite Ross grilled James Williams about a phone call he made before Chaundra Davis' body was found.

"Didn't you state in that phone call, 'Because she is dead and my stories aren't the same,' didn't you say that? Yes, you did? Yes you said that right," said Hite Ross.

"I repeated what the detective had told me. She was dead. I repeated his words to my family on the phone, yes I did," said Williams.

Rockford police say Davis was found in the Rock River nearly two weeks after she was reported missing. Attorneys for Williams have said he had nothing to do with the death or disappearance of the mother of three.

Closing arguments are expected to begin Thursday morning before the jury begins deliberations.


Updated January 17, 2018, 3:38 p.m.

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Opening statements begin for the Rockford man accused of killing his former girlfriend, 38-year-old Chaundra Davis, back in 2008.

The mother of three was found in the Rock River nearly two weeks after her family had reported her missing. The Winnebago County coroner says Davis died from strangulation.

James Williams was taken into custody back in 2015, nearly seven years after Davis' death. He faces first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide.

"The defendant threatened to kill Chaundra. He had choked her previously. The abuse escalated," says the chief of the Criminal Bureau with the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office Marilyn Hite Ross.

"What happened to Chaundra Davis is nothing short of heartbreaking. A young mother taken too soon. But this man here, James Williams, had nothing to do with her disappearance or her death," says assistant public defender Jacob Rubin.

Williams' trial is expected to last several weeks.


Posted May 28, 2015, 12:33 p.m.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- For almost seven years, the man who Rockford Police say murdered 38-year-old Chaundra Davis, a mother of three children was right under their nose the whole time.

Police say 49-year-old James Williams has been charged with the killing of Davis. Williams faces three charges of first-degree murder and one count of concealment of a homicidal death.

Williams was the boyfriend of Davis when she turned up missing on Nov. 8 2008. Two weeks later, her body was found in the Rock River. Police say Davis died from strangulation. Sergeant Eric Bruno has been working the case since Davis first disappeared. He says it hasn’t had the feel of a cold case because they’ve been working on it continuously since it happened and now the family can have closure.

"You get some personal pride, but I feel good for the family. I feel like we're able to at least allow them an opportunity to seek justice for their loved one,” said Sergeant Bruno.

Police say Williams is currently at Stateville Prison in Joliet serving a separate term for criminal sexual assault. After he’s done serving that term, he will be transferred to the Winnebago County jail where he will be held on a $1 million bond.

Williams is scheduled to be in court on Friday, May 29. If found guilty, he faces up to 65 years in prison.

For links to the stories we originally reported on this case in 2008, please click on the attached related stories.