Williams sentenced in kidnapping
by The Press and Standard | June 14, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: June 12, 2018 at 7:17 pm
Gloria Williams learned last Friday she would spend 18 years in a Florida correctional facility — the same amount of time she lived a lie in Walterboro.
Williams appeared in Circuit Court in Jacksonville, Fla., on June 8 for sentencing on charges of kidnapping and interfering with custody.
Williams was arrested in Walterboro on charges of kidnapping and interference with custody by Jacksonville law enforcement officers on Dec. 13, 2017 and has remained in jail since the arrest.
Williams’ arrest ended an 18-year search for a missing Jacksonville, Fla., infant.
That kidnapped child, Kamiyah Mobley, was taken from her mother on July 10, 1998, a few hours after her birth at a Jacksonville medical facility. She was raised in Walterboro as Williams’ daughter, Alexis Manigo.
Circuit Court Judge Marianna Aho ordered Williams to spend 18 years behind bars on the kidnapping charge and a concurrent five-year jail term for interfering with child custody.
Before pronouncing Williams sentence, Judge Aho said “There are no winners and no losers in this case. It’s a very sad case, and many people have suffered, including Ms. Williams. The family in this case suffered, not knowing what happened to their child for approximately 18 years.”
In determining Williams’ sentence, Aho wrote in her sentencing statement, “no violence was associated with Miss Mobley’s kidnapping and, although the court is sympathetic to that victim’s family, any kidnapping is especially cruel.”
Under a plea agreement that resulted in Williams’ guilty plea, she could have been sentenced up to 22 years behind bars on the kidnapping charge.
Aho, in the sentencing statement, explained that she did not feel compelled to sentence Williams to the maximum. “This crime does appear to be an aberration in defendant’s character, as the vast majority of testimony presented indicated (the) defendant is a good person.”
Williams has 30 days to appeal the sentence.
Kamiyah Mobley did not attend the sentencing, according to Bamberg attorney Justin Bamberg. Bamberg has been acting as the young woman’s attorney since shortly after Williams was arrested.
In a statement issued after the June 8 sentencing, Bamberg said “Today was a very difficult day for Kamiyah. We made the decision to not attend the sentencing, but we anticipated the result. Kamiyah is now processing what it means for the woman she’s known as mother to receive an 18-year prison sentence. However, she understands Gloria had to be held accountable for her actions. She also understands that her biological parents have the absolute right to view today as a joyous day.”
Handling the legal affairs of his young client, Bamberg said, “has been the most unusual thing I have worked on.”
One of his primary duties has been to straighten out Mobley’s identity in the eyes of the law.
To receive a valid Social Security number, two forms of identification are needed. In Mobley’s case, her real birth certificate carried the name Kamiyah Mobley. Everything else says Alexis Manigo.
Now she has a Social Security number and a government-issued identity card.
“She’s working at the first job she’s ever had. So far she loves it. She wants to be self sufficient,” Bamberg said.
“Being 19 is chaotic enough without all this,” Bamberg said. He sees his task as “acting as a shield, making sure no one takes advantage of her.”