Jury finds Leesville man guilty of 2nd-degree murder of Fort Polk soldier

Jury finds Leesville man guilty of 2nd-degree murder of Fort Polk soldier
Tobias Williams was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2016 shooting death of Fort Polk Capt. Jonathan Ellis. (Source: Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office)

LEESVILLE, LA (KALB/KPLC) - In Leesville, a jury unanimously found Tobias Williams guilty of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice in connection to the 2016 shooting death of Fort Polk Captain Jonathan Ellis.

On Thursday, Williams shared new information about what he said happened the night of Captain Ellis’ death, explaining to the jury that he never came forward with what he claims is the full story because he didn’t trust law enforcement and wanted to protect his family.

Although the victim’s body burned in a trash pile in William’s yard for three to four days, his girlfriend Dominischa Smith testified on Tuesday that Williams was forced to commit obstruction of justice because Wanda Gordon pistol-whipped him after shooting Ellis.

Special Prosecutor Lea Hall wasn’t buying the story, but Williams repeated it on the stand on Thursday, adding that he still has the scar.

“In addition to many bad decisions that he made in this case, this was a bad one. Chose to roll the dice with bad facts, he lost, and he’s going to jail for the rest of his life,” Hall said.

BREAKING: Leesville man charged in connection to the death and cover-up of Fort Polk soldier in 2016 is found guilty of 2nd degree murder and obstruction of justice. The jury deliberated for about 15 minutes before making the unanimous decision. KALB News Channel 5

Posted by KALB Lydia Magallanes on Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hall argued that Williams and Smith never told detectives about Gordon threatening their family, pointing them out in recorded statements played for the court.

“In general in the case with all the dishonesty that’s been an element of the case since the get-go,” Lea Hall said. “Those involved who sought to distance themselves did so unartfully and in a way that trapped themselves and that’s true for everybody in the case.”

Investigators with Army CID and the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Department both testified to these inconsistencies

“Honestly, it was not a surprise. We knew that this particular witness was going to do one of two things: either tell the truth or blow it out of proportion,” said David Vance, the lead detective on the case.

Hall added that Williams’ girlfriend faces felony charges for lying under oath during the trial.

As for how Captain Ellis ended up at Tobias Williams’ house that night, the prosecution and the shooter, Gordon, said it was for a robbery, but Williams and his girlfriend disputed that in their testimonies.

Williams is expected back in court on April 16 for a sentencing hearing.

Gordon was also facing murder and obstruction of justice but took a plea last year for manslaughter.

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