STILLWATER — Former Oklahoma State basketball player Darrell Williams was given a one-year suspended sentence Friday morning, and and was released from custody at the Payne County Courthouse.
In July, Williams was convicted of two counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual battery, stemming from an incident at an off-campus party in December 2010, when two girls accused him of putting his hands inside their pants without their consent.
With the sentence suspended and time already served, he was released after the hearing but must register as a sex offender.
After the sentencing, when asked by the judge if he had anything to say, a solemn Williams, dressed in an orange ‘Payne County Jail’ jumpsuit responded: “I didn’t do it.”
The packed courtroom was filled with supporters, including OSU coach Travis Ford, athletic director Mile Holder and many current OSU basketball players, creating a tense and emotional scene.
Nine uniformed officers roamed the room, keeping peace, while Williams’ mother, in tears, and a few others had to leave the room.
A large group of Williams’ family members came down from Chicago, dressed in 'Free Darrell' shirts and pleading with the judge for a new trial.
But the motion was denied, after the judge said he reviewed between 1,500 to 2,000 pages of submitted documents and didn’t find sufficient evidence.
“We thought that we had proven that the new trial motion should be granted,” defense attorney Cheryl Ramsey said of the decision.
Williams must register as a Level 1 sex offender, deemed the least dangerous, for at least 15 years.
When asked if justice was served, Ramsey said, “No, not in any way, shape or form. Because he is innocent.”
The two girls, who were not present at the sentencing, have limited their public comments. One of them conducted an interview with the Associated Press last month.
“That's ignorance for people to say this is a race thing,” she said in the interview. “It's not about race; it's about rape. He raped two girls.”
Williams’ case drew national attention, including a visit to Stillwater in August from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who staged a rally in Williams' defense.
Jill Tontz, the assistant district attorney, spearheaded the state's case against Williams and seemed generally pleased with Friday’s outcome, despite her wish that he serve more jail time.
“I hope that sexual assault victims across the state will see and know that no one is above the law,” Tontz said. “I honestly feel that Darrell Williams feels that he is above the law.”
Williams is expected to return to Chicago and register for the necessary programs there. His basketball future is still up in the air, with one family friend saying those future plans are "on the ground level."
In some cases, lower-level sexual offenders are allowed to attend universities once they complete necessary paperwork that notifies the school.
Oklahoma State’s basketball team, for which Williams was expected to play before his conviction, was set to begin practice Friday night without him.