William Talley, 52, admitted to the May 11 shooting death of Kelly Levinsohn in her Columbus home. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Talley appeared in front of Judge Gil McBride via Zoom. Talley was in the Muscogee County Jail and the guilty-plea hearing was held in McBride’s Government Center Courtroom.
Talley was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, for Levinsohn’s murder. He will be eligible for parole after 30 years. He has been in isolation on suicide watch in the county jail. He will now be moved into the Georgia prison system.
Prior to the sentencing, Levinsohn’s mother, Wylma, and the victim’s brother, Gary, told McBride how the murder impacted them.
The most powerful statement came from Levinsohn’s lifelong best friend, Tyeise Wetzel, who appeared in front of the court virtually from Wyoming. She talked about how they developed a fear of monsters in the second grade, when they watched the movie Friday the 13th at a sleepover. Wetzel called Talley a cowardly murderer.
“She was killed by a real-life monster – a police officer at that,” Wetzel said. “He was trained to protect. And he shot her in the back of the head where she had no way of defending herself.”
Talley was facing multiple charges. In addition to murder, he was charged with aggravated assault, using a gun to commit a crime, and violating his oath as a police officer. In addition to the felony murder charge, he also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Levinsohn, 44 at the time of her death, worked for Care Ambulance as an emergency medical technician with Care Ambulance.
The tragic events played out on a Saturday. Talley shot Levinsohn at her Pratt Avenue home. He then took her truck to Harris County. There he crashed off I-185 at the Hopewell Church Road exit.
A standoff with law enforcement followed as the police sergeant threatened to kill himself. It was resolved after the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team was called.
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported there was a previous domestic incident involving Talley and Levinsohn in March 2018. Columbus police responded and found Talley intoxicated, according to police records.
Talley was suspended for one day.