According to court documents Andrew Willson and his mother Lisa Marie Willson were involved in an argument earlier in the day over a puppy that Lisa would not allow her nineteen year old son to keep. Once Lisa Marie Willson was asleep Andrew would take a gun from a cabinet and fatally shot his mother while she slept
Andrew Willson would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to 17 to 24.5 years in prison
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Andrew Willson Case
A Williamston-area man who shot and killed his mother as she slept will spend at least 16 years in prison.
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Clinton Canady III on Wednesday sentenced Andrew Willson, 20, to a minimum of 17 to 24½ years in prison on second-degree murder and felony firearm charges. Willson received credit for 425 days he had already spent in jail.
Willson’s family and his attorney Stephen Milks asked Canady to sentence him below the guidelines. But Canady said for Willson’s rehabilitation, the safety of society and the case serving as a deterrent to others he couldn’t find a reason to do that.
“I hear what the family’s saying, but I just can’t see that (Lisa Marie Willson) wanted to leave at this particular time under these circumstances,” he said. “We have a death. We can’t get around that.”
Andrew Willson was experiencing a major depressive episode and hearing voices at the time of the fatal shooting of his 51-year-old mother in September of 2017, his attorney has said. He was 19 at the time.
During the hearing, Milks added multiple doctors have confirmed a diagnosis of major depressive disorder with psychosis and that Andrew Willson likely has a disorder on the autism spectrum.
“But for his mental illness, this would not have happened,” Milks argued.
Milks added sending Willson to prison “does not treat the actual issue.”
“He was seeking treatment. He knew that he couldn’t handle it on his own,” he said. “Treatment will not be found in the confines of a cell.”
Prison “cannot be the answer” for people with mental illnesses, Milks said.
“While the prosecutor’s idea is much easier, it’s not right.”
Ingham County Assistant Prosecutor Teddy Eisenhut argued Willson’s mental illness and the voices he heard did not come to light until after his confession.
She said the sentencing agreement and recommendation acknowledges the mental health issues but also the heinous nature of the act.
“Mr. Willson acted deliberately in killing his mother while she was in the most vulnerable human state — sleep,” Eisenhut said during the sentencing hearing.
Andrew Willson called police just before 7 a.m. Sept. 8 and said he had come home to find his mother dead in her bedroom in Wheatfield Township. She had been shot once in the back of the head as she slept.
He later told police he removed a .22-caliber Magnum rifle from a locked cabinet, then crept into his mother’s room and shot her as she slept, police said.
Willson’s attorney has said an argument over a puppy, previously presented as a possible motive, had no relation to the shooting. Willson had been hearing voices ordering him to kill her, his attorney said, but there was no clear motive.
In fact, Milks has called the case an anomaly and described the lack of a motive as boggling.
He called the shooting an “isolated incident” in which a previously kind and caring young man acted out of character.
Willson’s aunt, grandmother and brother echoed that in statements to the judge.
They all said the person who killed Lisa Willson was not the real Andrew Willson and that he was not fully in control of his actions.
“There’s no possible way that he would willingly take his mom’s life away,” his older brother, Michael Willson, said. “The shooting is not Andrew’s fault. The voices are to blame.”
Those voices, and his mental issues in general, originated from Andrew Willson’s treatment for stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his family and attorney said.
His family added they want to be able to heal together, just as they did when helping him through surgeries to fix birth defects and his cancer treatment.
Helen Guisinger, Andrew Willson’s grandmother, told Canady “any sentence you give Andrew will also be served by his family.”
“Lisa would be heartbroken if she could see what Andrew is going through now,” Guisinger said. “She would ask the court to be lenient in sentencing. As Lisa’s mother, I’m asking the court to be lenient for her.”
And Andrew Willson apologized both for what he did and for putting his family through this situation. He said it was wonderful living with his mother and that she was never anything but caring and loving.
“I miss her so much,” he said.
Ultimately, Milks said, Canady was fair and honest.
“Considering the circumstances, Andrew’s going to be OK,” Milks said. “He’s going to get treatment.”
Andrew Willson News
A young mid-Michigan man charged with killing his mother as she slept has pleaded guilty but mentally ill in the case.
The Lansing State Journal reports 20-year-old Andrew Willson entered the plea Wednesday in Ingham County Circuit Court to charges including second-degree murder. A first-degree murder charge is being dropped in exchange for his plea. Sentencing is scheduled Nov. 7 and Willson faces up to life in prison.
Willson’s attorney Stephen Milks says at the time of the shooting Willson was in the midst of a major depressive episode and had been hearing voices ordering him to kill her.
Willson’s mother, 51-year-old Lisa Willson, was found shot in the head at their home in Ingham County’s Wheatfield Township on Sept. 8, 2017. Andrew Willson was earlier found competent for trial .