Downs confessed to killing another boy

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

William "Junior" Downs was executed this afternoon. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 pm.

Downs was convicted of kidnapping, raping, and killing six-year-old Keenan O'Mailia in 1999.

That's the crime he was executed for...but he also confessed to killing ten-year-old James Porter eight years earlier.

James' mother, Kathy Favors, watched Downs die.

It's taken Kathy fifteen years to return to normal life. She still has nightmares about the brutal rape and murder of her son.

"You know, I asked God time and time again to give me a sign that my child's up there."

It was Kathy's oldest son - James Porter - who was the first boy to fall victim to William "Junior" Downs.

Downs got away with murder for eight and a half years.

Kathy's ten-year-old son was sent out to a mom and pop store to buy milk. Little did she know, he never made it...and would never make it home.

"He said when he knocked him out, he had sex with him, said James started coming around and he strangled him a second time which is what killed him. Said then he had sex with him a second time and just pushed his body over in the river and left it."

A brutal and senseless crime...one Kathy says Richmond County didn't take seriously enough.

Her son's death was originally dubbed an accidental drowning.

"When my son got missin', a big part of me got missin'. And then when I asked to see the body and the police and all denied me of that right, it was like that part of me wasn't coming back."

Believe it or not, Kathy finds comfort in the story Downs would later confess when arrested for the murder of a North Augusta boy in 1999.

It was then that he admitted to raping and strangling James eight years prior.

Kathy accepted that confession as the only proof of her son's death.

"When Junior admitted to killing James, that told me then that my son was really gone and he wasn't coming back," Kathy says. "So I did forgive him. I don't forget it. And I got no use for him and I'll be happy when he's gone off the face of this earth."


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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