WATCH LIVE
On Air 8:55AM
Menu
This is a truncated article title that goes in the header of the page.
3 missed clues: The palm print
Author: WXIA Staff
Published: 7:24 PM EDT June 19, 2017
INVESTIGATIONS 5 Articles

A school log-in sheet, a dropped cell phone and a set of palm prints -- all found at the scenes of three separate crimes. All belonging to a man who would later be implicated in shootings of two women who made desperate calls to 911 from closets. Could these crimes have been prevented by basic police work?This 11Alive Investigation retraces the steps that could have led police to a convicted killer -- before the tragedy happened.

“She had a good heart, she would do anything that she could for you. She was just a good person. We lost a very good person.”

Pamela Williams was a popular corporate manager of a Target store on Camp Creek Parkway in Fulton County.

On November 30, 2013, Williams called 911 during an apparent break-in at her home in Amhurst subdivision. She told dispatchers that she was hiding in her closet.

When police arrived, they found Williams with a single gunshot wound to the head. She died several days later. She was 43.

EXPLORE

3 missed clues: The palm print

INVESTIGATIONS
Chapter 1

November 19, 2012 (One year before Williams' murder)

An email from the victim of the home at Lawrence Place to police days after the break-in points police to a Twitter account apparently belonging to James Calhoun.

The day after break-in at a home on Lawrence Place, a tweet from the account apparently belonging to James Calhoun reads “I got a [expletive] banger #nobodycantellmes***

Screenshot of a Tweet from an account apparently belonging to James Calhoun

A banger can be used as a slang term for gun.

At the Lawrence Place burglary, one of the items stolen was a 9mm handgun.

Chapter 2

October 30, 2013 (One month before Williams' murder)

Shell casings from a 9mm gun are found at the scene of another home invasion. Another woman shot in the closet.

Gunshots are heard as Melissa Burke pleads with 911 dispatchers to send him.

Burke, who survives the shooting, later identifies the shooter as James Calhoun.

A mother is at home with her 2-year-old daughter and infant son when she hears the doorbell ring. She looks outside her window and sees two men who she doesn’t know standing there. She doesn’t respond to the doorbell in hopes that the men will leave.

The men begin pounding on the door.

The woman calls 911. While the woman is speaking to dispatchers, a large rock sails through her front window.

The woman runs upstairs to her infant son’s room. From the bedroom window, she looks down and sees the suspects. One of the men, later identified as James Calhoun, points directly at her and throws a rock in her direction.

The rock narrowly misses the mother’s face as it breaks through the bedroom window, showering her with glass.

The suspects, Calhoun and Justin Shakoor, run but are captured by police.

Calhoun is indicted and released on $5,700 bond. During processing, Calhoun's fingerprints are taken.

Police are called to the scene of a burglary on Amhurst Parkway.

The homeowner tells police that he left his house around 1:15 p.m. and when he returned a few hours later, someone had thrown a rock through the back door window and gotten inside.

Several items are missing from the house, including computers, cameras and a flat-screen TV.

A responding officer notices that an alarm panel has been removed ripped from the kitchen wall and tossed on the floor.

On November 1, an officer writes that the alarm panel had been processes for latent prints. Two prints are recovered from the front panel and placed on file in the evidence room, but they are not scanned for matches.

In 2015, after finally scanning the prints, the GBI confirms that they belong to James Calhoun, who by that time was in jail on charges related to the murder of Pamela Williams.

Chapter 3

November 30, 2013 (The night of the murder)

“They keep ringing the doorbell”

Pamela Williams calls 911.

“I think somebody is trying to break into my house,” she tells the dispatcher. “Because they keep ringing the doorbell and my dog is barking. But I can’t see where they’re going. I’m not expecting anybody, but I can’t see where they are.”

Someone has broken into her home in the Amhurst subdivision.

Williams tells the dispatcher that she’s scared to go downstairs because her dog has stopped barking “right before I called he was really going crazy.”

The dispatcher tells her that a unit is in route and to call back if she hears anything else.

Minutes later, Williams calls back.

“I think someone is breaking into my house,” she said.

“Where are you at this time,” the dispatcher asks.

“I’m in my closet,” Williams said.

Flustered and breathing heavy, Williams says her dog, a poodle, is at the back door barking.

“I can hear them,” Williams whispers.

Police arrive and find Williams with a single gunshot wound to the head. She had been shot at point-blank range.

Williams is transported to Grady Memorial Hospital. She dies six days later.

She was 43.

Two weeks after Pamela Williams’ murder, police arrest Jonathan Banks, James Sims and James Calhoun.

During the trial, prosecutors describe the three as a “death squad”, saying that were part of a burglary ring that committed more than 100 burglaries in south Fulton County.

Amhurst burglary crew

Pamela's sister, Erica Williams, attends each day of the trial.

“I thought about Pam and I said what would she do. She would come single day,” Erica said. “So I went every single day.”

Melissa Burke, who survived after being shot in a closet several times during a home invasion in January 2013, takes the stand during the trial.

Burke identifies James Calhoun as the man who shot her in that closet.

On October 28, 2016, a jury convicts the three in the death in the death of Pamela Williams.

They’re awaiting sentencing.

Chapter 4

Looking back and moving forward

Melissa Burke, who suffered numerous wounds after being shot by who she identified as James Calhon, wants to find strength in her story. A tattoo now conceals the bullet wounds on her arm.

“I don’t look at the bullet wounds on my arm, I see the shield of faith,” she said.

Erica Williams continues to carry a part of her sister inside of her. When Erica needed a kidney donor, Pamela volunteered.

“She had a good heart, she would do anything that she could for you,” Erica said. “She was just a good person. We lost a very good person.”

She can’t shake her sister’s death.

“She was in her home, the place that she worked for to purchase for herself,” Erica said. “And someone decided to come into her home and take her life.”

Pamela Williams’ mother said she’s still being reminded of the generosity of her slain daughter.

“She was a donor before her death, and she was a donor after death,” her mother said. “They recovered her organs so that she could give life to someone else.”

“This past Christmas was the first letter I got from the lady that has her heart.”

Fulton County Police have not commented on the three clues – the student log-in sheet, the dropped cell phone and the palm prints -- that could have potentially put James Calhoun behind bars before that tragic night in November 2013.