Mar 13 4:00 PM

A history of violence ends in domestic homicide

Courtesy Charleston County Sheriff's Office

Female victims of domestic abuse are five times more likely to be killed by their abusers if a gun is present. Thirty-four-year-old Zakiya Lawson became one of those women when her boyfriend, Peter Centil Williams, with whom she had a child, shot her and then himself during an argument in the summer of 2013. 

Many questions linger about Zakiya Lawson's passing. Many of them involve Williams, who over the previous decade had assembled a long rap sheet that included charges of attempted murder and assault, as well as two criminal domestic violence convictions, involving two different women. (One of those women was Lawson.)

Perhaps most important among those questions is: How was Williams not in jail at the time of the incident? Why was his bail set so low? And are there measures that could be taken to make it more difficult for someone with his violent history to get a gun?

Through a mix of Freedom of Information Act requests, police and sheriff’s department reports, and county records, Fault Lines assembled Peter Williams’ criminal history. The following timeline shows a prolific pattern of violence that took place over the course of a decade and culminated in a tragic murder-suicide. 

To protect the privacy of Williams' victims, we are using their intials in lieu of their full names.


Tune in to the latest episode of Fault Lines, “Death in Plain Sight,” premiering Friday, March 14, at 9:30p ET and airing again Saturday, March 15, at 5p ET.  


Gun Violence

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