Later this month, a convicted murderer will walk out of the Dixon Correction Center, approximately halfway through his sentence for sexually assaulting and killing a 20-month-old girl.
Cayce Williams will be freed on Feb. 25, approximately halfway through the 48-year prison sentence he was handed in 2006, leaving those connected to the case horrified that the convicted killer will soon be a free man.
“The victim’s advocate through the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office called and told me, but I really didn’t understand,” Margaret Gretta-Morgan, Williams’ ex-girlfriend and the victim’s mother, said. “It’s something I re-live every single day.”
In 1997, Williams was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting and killing Gretta-Morgan’s 20-month-old daughter Quortney. He was eventually sentenced to 48 years in prison, but will be released on what is the anniversary of Quortney’s death.
“Here they are, taking someone who has shown that he can sexually assault and murder a 20-month-old child – we are talking about a child that has no way to protect herself – but they can take him and put him right back out in society,” Gretta-Morgan said.
Attorney Sarah Toney says that a legal problem in sentencing laws, dating back to the 1990’s, are behind the man’s release from prison.
“With this case, he was sentenced in 1997, and he fell into a small number of people who were sentenced under an old ‘truth in sentencing’ statute that was enacted in 1985,” Toney said. “The Supreme Court then said the statute was ruled unconstitutional.”
The law was fixed in 1998, mandating that convicted murderers serve at least 85% of their sentences, but since Williams was sentenced in 1997, he was included in a group of approximately 600 other individuals who only had to serve 50% of their sentences, Toney said.
Elgin residents are upset by Williams’ impending release, but Toney says there is nothing that can be done to continue his sentence.
“Unfortunately, it’s the way the system works, and he has served his time,” she said.
The Illinois Prisoner Review Board says that it will set conditions for mandatory supervised release for Williams, and he will be required to register as a convicted sex offender when he is released.
That is small comfort to Gretta-Morgan, who says that Williams’ impending release has reopened a lot of old wounds.
“It brings back all the memories,” she said. “This case took nine years to get through the system, and it is not something you get over overnight.”