First row from left: Bro. Donnell Cummings, Bro. Lionel Muhammad, Attorney David Lesht, Bro. Calvin 6X, Bro. Leonard Omar Muhammad and Bro. Malik Muhammad. Second row from left: Bro. Albert 4X Kirkman, Bro. Min. Abdullah Muhammad, Bro. Cedric 3X Cal and Bro. Tony Muhammad. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

CHICAGO—Darryl Williamson, also known as Kevin Smith, was 21 years old in 1987, the last time he would see his home or his family.

Growing up and living in Los Angeles, immersed in the world of gangs and crime, Darryl joined a gang. Influenced by his gang, Darryl took a trip to Chicago for the purpose of robbing a jewelry store.

While in Chicago, Darryl, along with a few other people, decided to steal cars. The parking garage of the Days Inn Hotel located on Lake Shore Drive was chosen. During the robbery, the group was confronted by a parking attendant in the garage. The confrontation resulted in the attendant’s death.

Bro. Darryl admitted to shooting the parking attendant because he believed that the attendant had shot at him when he heard a pop. He didn’t realize that he had shot himself in the leg, so he shot at the attendant, hitting him twice. The attendant was unarmed.


Bro. Darryl received a life sentence for the murder, and 30 years for armed robbery. Incarceration has led to a complete separation between Darryl and his family. His mother, a sibling, and an aunt have passed away, all without being able to have physical contact with Darryl.

Over the years, the Nation of Islam’s Prison Ministry has had a tremendous impact on countless incarcerated men and women throughout the United States.

Influencing inmates through exhibiting positive changed behavior, reading material such as The Final Call newspaper as well as other Nation of Islam texts, and diet changes (most notably, removing pork), creates an atmosphere in the facility of respect.

“I believe that Allah is going to bring Brother [Darryl] home. He is sincere and consistent in attending Nation of Islam services for many years,” stated Abdullah Muhammad, Student National Prison Reform Minister.

Lionel Muhammad, also assists in the ministry and was among other Prison Ministry members to speak on behalf of Bro. Darryl during a February executive clemency hearing for his release.

In the United States, executive clemency refers to the general powers of the president and of the governors to pardon, grant amnesty, commutation, or reprieve to individuals who have either been convicted or may face the prospect of conviction for a criminal offense.

“I met [Darryl] in 1996 or 1997, we were incarcerated together. When he saw how disciplined myself and some other Brothers was, he was impressed. We introduced him to the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he gradually came along. These teachings has given him a sense of dignity, the ability to own up to his wrong doings,” Bro. Lionel told The Final Call.

He continued, “As a result of Darryl studying these teachings under the guidance of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, he came in whole heartedly.”

A letter from Bro. Darryl read by Bro. Lionel stated, “This is not an excuse for my actions, as I committed an absolutely unthinkable crime, and I’ve been living with the burden of an endless amount of guilt and shame since I committed such a heartless act. I realize that no words will alter the reality of the pain I caused by my actions on that day. I was wrong on every level. I accept responsibility for my reckless conduct, and I will for the rest of my life continue to work to walk a path of atonement, redemption, and self-improvement in recognizing the misconduct in my past.”

He continued, “I respectfully submit my life to do the Will of Allah. I have been a student of the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad as taught by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam for the past 24 years. I have been an example model inmate inside this institution.”

Brother Cedric 3X, formerly incarcerated now living in Chicago who spoke on behalf of Bro. Darryl Williamson at the hearing, told The Final Call, “I’ve been knowing [Darryl] for the last 28 years, we met in prison. He had a stroke in the early 2000s, and he’s in a lot of pain and he’s lost a lot of weight. I mentioned at his executive clemency hearing, that he had been a negotiator of peace between conflicting street organizations. He has inspired other brothers to reform themselves. I know he would be an asset to our community, to make it a better and safe place to live.”

As of Final Call press time, Mr. Williamson is still awaiting the decision of his fate.

Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected]