Accused killer of mother, baby, blames "demon" for crime

- An 18-year-old Bradenton mother and her 8-month-old son were murdered inside their home, which was discovered on fire. Investigators say the crime was committed at the hands of Larry Willams, the mother's boyfriend, and child's father.

He's now behind bars, blaming the crime on a "demon" while the heartbroken family of Diamond and Jeremiah Shelman struggles to understand how this could have happened.

Monday afternoon, Diamond's grandmother Bettye Shelman swiped through cell phones, gazing at photos and videos that captured the unbreakable bond between the mother and son.

"Her and Jeremiah, that was her joy, Jeremiah," she offered.

One video recorded Diamond singing Michael Jackson's song 'Man in the Mirror,' with Jeremiah cooing at the sound.

"She was a good person, she attended church, and she brought her son when she came," Shelman continued. "Not in a million years, I would think this could happen."

Diamond and Jeremiah were found dead Sunday morning inside their burning apartment at the Avalon Square Apartment Complex.

"Right away, we knew this was not from a fire, this trauma the 18-year-old suffered," Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow said at the scene.

Investigators say Diamond had been stabbed, the infant died of suspected smoke inhalation, and the fire was set intentionally. Within hours, deputies arrested the child's father, Larry Williams. He had burns on his leg.
  
According to his arrest affidavit, Williams stated that "The demon that takes him over" had stabbed diamond and burned the apartment. He's now charged with two counts of murder and one count of arson.

"I know that God has all this in his hand," Bettye Shelman said. "Yes, I believe that from my heart. And, God will judge him and he knows exactly what happened."

Diamond's grandmother is trying to focus more on her family right now and less on the person who took them away.

"Her smile, her kindness, her generosity, and Diamond could sing," Shelman said.

Diamond, who worked at CVS, was supposed to start school Monday to earn her pharmacy license.  Her heart was set on building a good life for herself and Jeremiah.

"I knew she was a good person and didn't to deserve to have it happen to her. Diamond loved her family, she's was a family person. Her joy was of course, Jeremiah," Shelman said.

There is a candlelight vigil being planned for Diamond and Jeremiah Shelman. It's scheduled for Sunday at 6 p.m. at Lincoln Park in Palmetto.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Accused killer of mother, baby, blames "demon" for crime
  • From war to whiskey, former Green Berets will open St. Pete distillery
  • Florida Poly hopes to change future of transportation with new research center
  • Tampa's flood control canal gets 50-year checkup
  • Power outage reported at Busch Gardens
  • Tampa fire: Hit-and-run crash caused $800k in damage
  • Candidates address red tide issues
  • Police want public to help nab golf cart thieves
  • Missing man could be in danger
  • Do you know who this woman is?