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Massachusetts man sentenced for involvement in brutal murder and body burning granted parole with conditions



A Massachusetts man who was sentenced for his involvement in a brutal murder and body burning has been granted parole with conditions.

According to the Massachusetts Parole Board, on November 10, 1999, in Middlesex Superior Court, Randy Williams pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Helena Gardner and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. He was also convicted of kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for which he was sentenced to two concurrent terms of seven to eight years in state prison.

Williams appeared before the Parole Board for a review hearing on September 13, 2022. Williams was denied parole at his 2012 initial hearing and after his 2020 review hearing. He postponed his 2017 review hearing.

The Board concluded by unanimous vote that Williams is a suitable candidate for parole.

According to information provided by the Board, on March 25, 1997, Williams and his co-defendants, Nichole Fernandes and Mark McCray, went to a Boston homeless shelter in search of Helena Gardner. Their intent was to confront her about remarks she had made about them. At the shelter, Williams and his co- defendants convinced Gardner to accompany them to an abandoned trailer in Cambridge, which they frequently used as a place to sleep. Once they were all inside the trailer, Gardner was bound with wire and gagged. Fernandes struck her with a metal rod several times, while Williams beat her. Fernandes also used thorns from a rose stem to cut Gardner’s face. She then lit Gardner’s hair on fire and stabbed her with scissors, which were left embedded in her neck. When Fernandes fell backwards in the chair to which she was bound, McCray urinated in her mouth. Lastly, after McCray handed Fernandes a sledgehammer, she proceeded to strike Gardner on the head.

The trailer was set on fire once Gardner succumbed to her injuries. The group left the scene to procure an alibi, but all were arrested approximately 10 days later.

In determining Williams being suitable for parole, the Board considered the expert evaluation of Dr. DiCataldo who described him as at low risk to reoffend. Officials stated that Williams has been in the residential treatment unit for nine years and has benefited from the program. He has completed numerous programs to address anger management, emotional awareness, violence reduction, and substance abuse. He has been compliant with mental health needs and has incorporated the Board’s prior recommendations by engaging in significant rehabilitative programming and maintaining a positive adjustment. The Board notes he has developed empathy throughout his incarceration, especially through his work as a wheelchair pusher. The Board finds a longer stepdown is appropriate given Williams’ lengthy period of incarceration and particular needs.

Williams will move to a long-term residential program after 18 months in lower security.

Other special conditions of Williams’ parole includes: Curfew at PO’s discretion; ELMO-electronic monitoring; Must take prescribed medication; Supervise for drugs, testing in accordance with agency policy; Supervise for liquor abstinence, testing in accordance with agency policy; Report to assigned MA Parole Office on day of release; No contact with victim’s family; Must have substance abuse evaluation and follow recommendations; Must have mental health counseling; Mandatory – sign releases and comply with mental health treatment.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Fed Up

    December 15, 2022 at 4:55 pm

    Anyone who can do what he did to another human being CANNOT be rehabilitated and should die in prison. Always with these stories and NEVER a quote from the victims families I wonder why?

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