Arizona man sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for fatally shooting girlfriend in Point Loma

Court gavel

Joe Bennette Conway, 44, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder for the 2018 killing of Octavia Williams.


A man who shot his 20-year-old girlfriend in the head in the parking lot of a Point Loma strip mall was sentenced June 17 to 18 years to life in state prison.

Joe Bennette Conway, 44, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder for the Oct. 9, 2018, killing of Octavia Williams.

Conway and Williams — both of whom were Arizona residents — were living out of a car at the time and had a young daughter.

The shooting happened in the parking lot of the Domino’s Pizza restaurant on West Point Loma Boulevard. According to testimony at a hearing, the pair entered the restaurant briefly around 10:30 p.m. They didn’t order anything and Williams used the restroom before the couple exited to the parking lot, where they had a loud and heated argument, witnesses testified.

One witness said he didn’t hear what they were talking about but saw Conway’s arm around Williams, who was trying to move away from him.

Another witness parked across the street said he heard a woman scream “No!” about 10 seconds before a gunshot rang out.

Williams was found lying in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the head. Paramedics took her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Conway was arrested less than a month later in Tempe, Ariz., where police found a gun containing DNA from the defendant and the victim, according to San Diego Police Department homicide Detective Michael Weaver. A cigarette butt found near Domino’s also had Conway’s DNA on it, Weaver said.

At Conway’s sentencing hearing, Williams’ grandmother and cousin — who has since adopted the couple’s daughter — gave victim impact statements to the court in which they described the turmoil Williams’ death has caused the family and the agony of having to someday explain to her daughter what happened to her mother.

Williams’ grandmother Daisy Johnson said the victim was “young and inexperienced, and [Conway] knew that.”

Johnson said she believed her granddaughter had been planning to return to Arizona.


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