Family holds vigil to remember murder victim

By Amanda Porterfield |

Published 12/10 2013 12:43PM

Updated 12/10 2013 12:51PM

CHAMPAIGN -- It's a night they planned as a cry for justice, but all that changed after a sudden breakthrough in their family's murder case. People gathered for a vigil Friday night.

Sheena Williams was killed in September. Her ex-boyfriend was arrested earlier this week turning the night into more of a celebration.

Candles light up the neighborhood which, for three months, has been pretty grim. These people are standing in front of the house where a murder happened; one they'd almost given up hope of being solved.

"Up until earlier this week, it seemed that way because an arrest had not been made. But, we kind of got an early Christmas gift this Wednesday. Her killer was arrested."

Cherika Williams is talking about Darmel Smith. He was her sister's ex-boyfriend. Police believe Smith stabbed Williams to death. Her body was found insider her home, sending a wave of fear throughout the neighborhood.

"The pain is very great."

"She was a beautiful and a sweet person and I love her dearly and I will always love her. And, what people need to realize is when they hear stuff, they just take it and run with it and none of that was nowhere near the case."

Holding fliers with Williams' picture, family and friends planned the vigil, ready to demand answers after hearing little about the investigation, fearing the suspect was still out there.

"As it turns out, Champaign Police had it covered the whole time."

Now, the vigil isn't about anyone else but Sheena Williams.

"We just wanted to let the town know and everybody know that this is very heavy on our hearts and just to celebrate her memory. She loved her family. Her kids were her world. She is greatly missed."

Darmel Smith is due back in court December 17.

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