It was in June 2020 when Azriel Clary, the former girlfriend of R. Kelly, came forward with the shocking news that someone set fire to her vehicle. According to Clary, she was targeted by the arsonist who also poured gasoline around the perimeter of her home, and later, it was reported that Kelly’s associate, Michael Williams, faced charges related to intimidation and “destroying a vehicle by means of fire.”
While the victim in his case remained anonymous, it was widely speculated that Williams was being prosecuted for the crime against Clary. Williams recently learned his fate after pleading guilty to intimidating a witness in Kelly’s case in April of this year.
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According to Rolling Stone, Williams was sentenced to 96 months in prison for intimidating the witness. The outlet stated the investigation uncovered that Williams searched online for information related to “detonation properties of fertilizer and diesel fuel,” as well as “witness and witness tampering.” He also reportedly looked up which countries “do not have extradition agreements with the United States.”
“In a violent act designed to instill fear and stop a witness from testifying at trial, Williams set fire to the victim’s vehicle in the middle of the night while it was parked outside of a residence occupied by four adults and two children,” United States Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. “Intimidating witnesses and threatening the safety of crime victims undermine the very fabric of our judicial system and will never be tolerated. This Office will bring all of its resources to bear against those who commit dangerous acts of violence to silence victims and interfere with the administration of justice.”
The victim, known as Jane Doe, also released a statement via Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez: “It is very unfortunate to see a man lose his freedom, however, the crime that was committed was not only vicious but disturbing. My mental state deteriorated tremendously due to fear, invasion of privacy, and trauma among many other things. Because of your actions, I live in fear and have had to relocate my entire life. In that home were not only adults but animals and children under the age of 10. My family is traumatized and has been in distress due to this unlawful act. I hope this life-changing event gives you time to reflect on your actions.”
At the time of the incident, Clary shared photos of the aftermath and was hit with an onslaught of backlash from people who accused her of setting the blaze herself.