Man pleads guilty to setting woman on fire in 2016

The man who set a 64-year-old Woodlawn resident on fire in 2016 will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after pleading guilty to murder last week.

Lewis Reeder pleaded guilty Friday to killing Delores Williams, 64, in her home on Keeler Court (see map). Reeder used gasoline from a lawnmower at the home to set Williams on fire, critically injuring her on November 18, 2016.

Williams, a Groveton High School graduate affectionately known as “Sweetie,” was airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center but died from her injuries 12 days later. Two other people in the home at the time escaped without serious injury.

House
The home of Delores Williams is seen the morning after she was set on fire by her ex-boyfriend in 2016.

As part of this guilty plea, Reeder was sentenced to 99 years in prison, with 69 years suspended. That means Reeder, who is in his late 50s, will serve 30 years if he does not die in prison. Should he be released, he would be subject to supervised probation.

Reeder declined to speak when offered the chance by the judge, according to a witness who attended the hearing.

The guilty plea came after a jury trial for Reeder last May ended in a mistrial. Two members of the jury in that case did not agree that Reeder was guilty of 1st degree murder, according to a juror who spoke to Covering The Corridor on background. The disagreement revolved around the legal definition of malice, which must be present in 1st and 2nd degree murder cases.

Reeder had a previous history of domestic violence, and Williams had once called the authorities to remove him from her home, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Reeder had also had previous arrests for domestic violence charges in South Carolina.

Reeder fled the scene after setting Williams on fire, and was not caught until December 1 when police found him in Richmond, Virginia.

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