Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
Mother Accused Of Son's 1999 Murder Has Juvenile Conviction For 1994 Homicide
Teresa Black, a woman now charged with the death of "Clifton Doe" in 1999 — who was her 6-year-old son William DaShawn Williams — had previously been convicted of a homicide as a juvenile.
The woman charged with killing her 6-year-old son 23 years ago had previously been convicted of a separate homicide, according to court records.
Teresa Ann Black (née Bailey), 45, was arrested in Arizona in June for the murder of her son, whose identity had been unknown since his remains were found in a Georgia church graveyard in 1999.
When the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office announced Black’s June 28 arrest, they identified the child as William DaShawn Hamilton.
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office confirmed to NBC Atlanta affiliate WXIA-TV that Black had previously been convicted on charges of manslaughter in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
In May 1994, Black — who was 16 years old at the time — shot and killed Jimmy Lee Samuels, 40, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At the time, Black was living with Samuels and Samuels’ girlfriend, Tomekya Wooten, then-23, at a boarding house in southwest Charlotte. It wasn’t clear if William DaShawn Hamilton — who would have been 2-years-old — lived with his mother at the residence.
Reporting officers stated that Samuels and Wooten had a physical altercation during which Samuels allegedly hit Wooten with a golf club. Black and Wooten then reportedly tried leaving the boarding house, but Samuels chased after two, prompting another fight between the adult couple.
Citing the Charlotte Observer, the Journal-Constitution reported the teenage Black fired a warning shot and then shot Samuels in the back.
Samuels succumbed to his injuries at an area hospital.
Black was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter in September 1994, according to the Journal-Constitution. She was released from prison one year later, at the age of 18.
In December 1998, Black pulled her 6-year-old out of school in North Carolina and moved to Atlanta with him. During what would be her brief time in Georgia, she worked as an exotic dancer and possibly spent time at a local shelter for women and children.
In February 1999, the unidentified body of a young boy — eventually dubbed “Clifton Doe” — was found decomposing in a wooded area near a cemetery by the intersection of Clifton Springs Road and Clifton Springs Church Road in Decatur, just a few miles from Atlanta.
A cause and manner of death were not immediately known, but authorities determined the child had been dead for several months.
According to WXIA-TV, the indictment against Black returned by a DeKalb County grand jury this year revealed that Hamilton died from a “substance or substances containing diphenhydramine and acetaminophen.” Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine (and the active ingredient in drugs such as Benadryl), while acetaminophen is the active ingredient found in minor pain relievers such as Tylenol.
The indictment also revealed that the child was struck in the head, per the Atlanta outlet.
Shortly after the discovery of the boy’s body, Black reportedly moved back to Charlotte. She was arrested there for multiple non-violent charges between 1999 and 2003, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At the time, she allegedly gave conflicting stories to acquaintances about why she'd returned to North Carolina without her son.
After 2003, Black had no known contact with the legal system for some time until resurfacing in Alaska in 2010, when she was sued over unpaid medical bills.
Black eventually moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2017, where she seems to have been living until her arrest in June — which came after a tipster recognized an artistic rendering of “Clifton Doe" released by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Black remains at the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona and faces two counts of felony murder, two counts of child cruelty, aggravated assault and concealment of death.
Black appeared at her first court hearing on July 13 and agreed to be extradited back to Georgia, according to WXIA-TV. There are, however, questions about whether Black’s ailing health may affect the extradition process: Black arrived to court in a wheelchair, and her booking photo shows a medical tube coming from her nostrils.
Officials in DeKalb County will have 30 days to bring her back to Georgia to face prosecution.