Ever came across the name Archie Williams?
This is the name of the person, who made national headlines once back in 2020 with not only a dreadful yet inspirational story but also his memorable and most appreciated audition. Where 59 years old musician sent shock waves with his breathtaking voice, he showed how incredible the person is.
Let’s look over the story of the man who made not America but the whole world cry while reflecting the hope for a new life!
After getting released from prison after 36 years in 2020, he got famous for giving a heart-touching performance on America’s Got Talent Season 15. You can imagine how heart-wrenching a performance he had that left Simon Cowell in tears and moved his heart to join the Innocence project.
Spending three decades in the prison is no joke, particularly when you have not committed the crime. Must be miserable luck! But that is exactly what happened with Archie Williams. Every time he shares his story, you can see how pathetic and emotional he feels with teary eyes.
You must be thinking, how Archie Williams travelled the journey from being a convicted person to a singer. Well, once he said in the interview how he felt music was the only escape from his tensed thoughts and a stressful prison environment. As his way of connecting to the outside world, he joined the jail choir and formed his band. See, life gives you chances from where you cannot imagine!
He was born in 1961 as a brother to Sheila Varner and Charlotte Alexander. Belonging to a black family, he was born and raised in Louisiana, USA. One of the most saddening parts of his life was when his parents died and he was not able to attend the funeral because he was behind the bars for the crime HE DOESN’T COMMIT!
Archie Williams was jailed in Angola prison. Due to his serious conviction, he was not allowed to communicate with the family and that is the reason why he never got to know about his daughter until he became a free man. He has never revealed any of his personal information about his wife or girlfriend. He is black and is 5 ft 4 in tall.
After receiving the compensation money for spending more than three decades in a prison and becoming an AGT star performer, his total net worth is estimated to be almost $500,000.
Criminal charges – Was he innocent or not?
Definitely, he was INNOCENT and not guilty at all. All he had was bad luck that led him to the trap and dejected prison life.
Being accused of aggravated rape, battery, and stabbing a white woman of 30 years multiple times at her home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he was sentenced to spend 80 years in prison. The incident happened in 1982 on April 21. Despite finding not a single fingerprint on the scene, he was put behind bars wrongfully. Archie Williams was 22 years old at that time. Such a young age to be wrecked!
Due to severe murder attempting charges, he was sentenced without the option of getting parole. He spent a total of 36 years but right when he completed his 12 years of his sentence, he was approached by the Innocence Project. They heard his side of the story and supported him while fighting for him for decades. They tried to use all the legal approaches such as getting access to evidence including DNA and fingerprints that could possibly prove his innocence.
In the AGT interview, Archie Williams highlighted what he was feeling while getting arrested for stabbing a woman when in reality, he was the man who would have always preferred peace over fight.
“On the morning of December 9 of 1982, a 30-year-old white woman was raped and stabbed in her home. I was arrested on January 4. I couldn’t believe it was really happening. I knew I was innocent.”
After his innocence was proved, later the woman also made a statement about a separate man being her attacker. Luckily her assaulter was arrested but do you know he admitted to raping at least four other women. PITY FOR SUCH PEOPLE!
In another AGT segment, he clarified the situation and the reason for not being able to fight back or to take a stand against his wrongful charges. He said:
“Being a poor black kid, I didn’t have the economic ability to fight the state of Louisiana. At the trial, none of the fingerprints at the scene matched mine. Three people testified that I was at home, but they wanted somebody to pay. I was sentenced to life and 80 years without the possibility of parole or probation.”
Finally, his lucky day was 21st March 21 of 2019 when the judge finally ordered an urgent review of the scene with recollected evidence. On finding no fingerprints, Archie Williams was declared innocent. He left prison in 2019 and became a free soul again!
As per the laws, Archie Williams was awarded the declared amount of $250,000 as compensation for such long-imprisoned years. The amount was found to be sufficient to support him and his family for a stable future. If divided it makes about $7,000 for every year that he spent in the Angola state penitentiary.
How Archie Williams spent his prison years – A talk on a Steve Harvey Show
- Archie Williams used to train himself in boxing and become a legend. On the show, he made a statement about his 9 different winning titles.
- He started singing and made his squad. He started by singing gospel in the church.
- He started spending time praying in church.
How he got the fame – American Got Talent
Well, the real story starts and ends here! One of his lifetime opportunities that he made the best out of!
He sang “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John with his sister. His first performance was staged on May 26, 2020. As the judges were amused by his voice, they all agreed and voted for Archie Williams to move to the upper competition level.
That is when he shared a bit of his past life, intriguing the people and made them go sentimental. Seeing the motivation and such a real enthusiasm of the Innocence Project, Simon Cowell became its ambassador.
Adding to your surprise, Archie Williams finished as a Bottom 5 finalist of the top 10. Apart from the first, another performance has been starred high which is “Flying Without Wings’ ‘ sung by Westlife. He performed it in the semifinals.