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Man charged in Norwich murder appears in court in New London

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A man who is charged in a shooting that left another man dead last summer in Norwich appeared virtually in court in New London on Friday afternoon.

Phillip C. Wise, 40, whose last known address was in Norwich, appeared via video conference before Judge Hillary B. Strackbein and was scheduled to next appear in court on April 6.

Wise had been arraigned Wednesday in Norwich and his case was transferred to the Part A courthouse in New London, where major crimes are heard. Judge Strackbein maintained the $2 million bail set by Judge Nuala Droney in Norwich.

Wise was extradited from North Carolina to Norwich on Tuesday after being arrested on a warrant issued in Connecticut on July 24, charging him with the murder of Anthony Lashawn Williams, 39, of Norwich, according to the Norwich Police Department.

Williams was shot to death just hours after being released from prison. He had been serving time at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville for convictions of driving under the influence, violation of probation, breach of peace, assault and reckless endangerment, according to the Department of Correction and court records.

Williams' aunt, Benita Christian, said Wednesday that shortly after Williams was released from prison, he had approached Wise, a longtime friend, about a situation Wise was involved in. Wise took out a gun and shot him, according to Christian.

Police responded to the reported shooting on Lake Street in Norwich about 4:30 p.m. on July 21, 2020. Williams was taken to Backus Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

William's aunt, his mother, Phyllisha Williams, and other family members and friends were in court in New London on Friday and in Norwich on Wednesday.

During the arraignment Wednesday, Judge Droney had to call a recess shortly after proceedings began because Williams' mother became emotional. "He's a coward. A coward, your honor," Phyllisha Williams had shouted. "I let him in my home, I loved him like a son and he turned around and killed my baby."

Christian said the family had known Wise for more than 20 years. She met Wise through a recovery program and introduced him to her nephew. He shared meals with their family, was welcomed into their homes and they attended parties together, she said.

Judge Strackbein on Friday waived the time period in which a probable cause hearing would need to be held in order to give Wise's attorneys time to decide whether that hearing should be held.

Wise was being represented by Attorney Michael Miller. The case was being prosecuted by Assistant State's Attorney Thomas M. DeLillo. The warrant in the case remained sealed.

t.hartz@theday.com

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