Demetrius Williams gets life in prison for killing little girl, trying to kill her mother

Demetrius Williams appears before a judge. (WBAY Photo)
Demetrius Williams appears before a judge. (WBAY Photo)(WBAY)
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 4:00 PM CDT
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OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - An Appleton man was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison Friday for stabbing a three-year-old girl to death a year ago and trying to kill her pregnant mother.

Demetrius Williams pleaded no contest earlier this year to 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide. A charge of Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide of an Unborn Child was dismissed but read into the record as part of the plea agreement.

On February 26, 2020, police responded to a 911 call from Williams at an apartment on N. Kensington. They found Tiana Corbin and her daughter, Zyana Corbin, with severe cuts and covered in blood. Three-year-old Zyana was pronounced dead at the hospital. Tiana and her unborn child survived the attack.

Williams told a 911 dispatcher he went on a stabbing rampage. Authorities say he was upset that Tiana didn’t want to be with him any longer. When police asked Williams why he wanted to kill Tiana, he answered, “Freedom and happiness.”

Asked why he attacked the little girl, Williams said he knew “killing Zyana would bring Tiana great pain and hurt her a lot.”

Appleton police posted a statement on Facebook Friday praising justice in the case.

Zyana Corbin was tragically taken from her family and friends on February 26th, 2020. Today, the offender was sentenced...

Posted by Appleton Police Department on Friday, March 26, 2021

Williams was also charged with taking hostages during an attempt to escape the Outagamie County Jail with another man last June while he faced trial for the murder charge.

Authorities say Williams hid behind a piece of cardboard in the jail dayroom. When an officer came to check on inmates, Williams jumped her and threatened her with a sharpened pencil. He took her radio, body camera, and a device to monitor inmate checks.

According to the criminal complaint, Williams demanded the officer release Matthew Beyer, who was in jail on charges he murdered his 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter in Kaukauna. Beyer told investigators Williams came up with taking a guard hostage and grabbing a weapon and told Beyer “he had a guy on the outside with a car that will meet them.” Authorities say Beyer provided Williams with the cardboard, which was intended as a toilet privacy shield.

The officer convinced Williams she needed to open Beyer’s cell door from a panel in the hallway. She distracted Williams and ran for help.

A charge of attempted escape was dismissed as part of the plea agreement in favor of the more serious charge of taking hostages released without bodily harm.

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