Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

S.C. Killer Pleads Guilty in Georgia; He Admits Child Slayings in Both States

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

S.C. Killer Pleads Guilty in Georgia; He Admits Child Slayings in Both States

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY HODSON

AUGUSTA -- If someday a court finds that William "Junior" Downs' murder conviction and death sentence in South Carolina should be thrown out, his guilty plea in Richmond County Superior Court on Monday should ensure he never has a chance to rape and murder another child.

Downs pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping, aggravated sodomy and necrophilia in the March 13, 1991, assault and killing of 10-year-old James Porter.

In a plea negotiation accepted by Judge Carl Brown, Downs, 38, will serve consecutive prison sentences of life without parole, two regular life sentences and 10 years. If he ever challenges the plea or sentence on appeal, the deal would be rescinded and he would once again face a possible death sentence in James' murder.

James' body was found in the Savannah River two months after he disappeared on his way to the store to buy milk for his baby sister.

While his mother disputed the finding, James' death was ruled an accidental drowning and the sheriff's file on his disappearance was closed. …

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