Sentencing set for last of 4 men involved in 2020 Wilmington shooting incident

By John Hamilton - [email protected]

WILMINGTON — The final person involved in an incident that led to a deadly shooting in 2020 is scheduled to be sentenced.

A notice of hearing is scheduled for Joshua Cordell Lee Williams on March 3 in U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati.

Williams, 20, along with three local residents, have pled guilty to their involvement in the shooting death of 23-year-old Layne Hall in January 2020. The other three charged were Christian Terry, 24; Kevin Lane Noe Jr., 23; and Corey Ruffner, 24.

According to Jennifer Thornton, a public affairs official for the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Southern District of Ohio, Williams had agreed to plead guilty to the use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime or crime of violence. The statutory penalties are five years to life in prison.

Williams was charged with the offense when his case went to federal court in July 2020; he was also charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, which was dismissed.

Court documents stated that Hall, Terry, Noe and Ruffner rode in a car together to meet someone at the Brownberry Apartments parking lot; soon after the four arrived, the person they were to meet — allegedly Williams — arrived. Gunfire was heard shortly after.

Although court documents don’t allege that Terry, Noe, or Ruffner purposely killed Hall, it alleges that if they had not taken part in initiating a robbery, the death would not have occurred.

Williams was suspected of directly causing Hall’s death. The late Richard Moyer — then-Clinton County Prosecutor — said last year during the indictment that the charge against Williams — unlike the charges against Terry, Noe and Ruffner — alleges the “purposeful killing of another” as a direct consequence of his own action.

Ruffner, Noe, and Terry all pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and received prison sentences. Ruffner and Noe each received a two-month prison sentence. Terry, who also plead guilty for theft, was sentenced to two years in prison.

Clinton County Prosecutor Andrew McCoy told the News Journal he hopes the final sentencing in the case brings “some small amount of closure to the family of Layne Hall.”

By John Hamilton

[email protected]