Barletta Statement on Sentencing of Inmate Who Murdered Eric Williams

Jul 11, 2017
Press Release
Convicted Murderer, Already Serving Life, Dodges Death Penalty

HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today released the following statement regarding a federal jury’s decision to sentence Jessie Con-ui to life in prison for the murder of Eric Williams.  Williams, a Nanticoke native and Senior Correctional Officer at the United States Prison at Canaan, was murdered by convicted gang assassin Jessie Con-ui while on duty in 2013.  Con-ui, a member of the violent New Mexican Mafia gang, was already serving a life sentence when he suddenly attacked Officer Williams, knocked him down a flight of stairs, and stabbed him more than 200 times with homemade blades known as shanks.

“I am disappointed with this verdict,” Barletta said.  “My heart is heavy for the family and friends of Eric Williams.  The brutality of this murder has weighed heavy on our community for four years now.  Despite this verdict, we should all find hope in the fact that Eric’s life and legacy have continued to impact countless individuals across this country by inspiring efforts to better protect correctional officers.  Eric’s parents, Don and Jean, have shown incredible strength and resolve by leading these efforts.  We must continue our work to protect correctional officers so that this senseless tragedy does not happen to other families.”

Last Congress, Barletta co-sponsored and helped lead the passage of a bill improving protections for correctional officers.  The Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act, signed into law in March 2016, supplies pepper spray to federal prison officers or employees who may respond to emergency situations with inmates.

During the legislative course of the bill, Barletta met with Don and Jean Williams, who now help lead an organization called Voices of JOE.  The letters of J-O-E stand for Jose Rivera, Osvaldo Albarati, and Eric Williams, three former corrections employees who were targeted and killed because of their positions in the prison system.