Pittsburgh man given life sentence in Washington murder

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Rensfield Donald Jarvis would have turned 25 today and celebrated his birthday on Thanksgiving, as always, with his family had he not been shot and killed by a Pittsburgh man near a bar in Washington’s West End last year.

Washington County Judge John DiSalle heard that story Tuesday from Jarvis’ mother when she gave a victim’s impact statement before Henry Dion Williams of Pittsburgh received his mandatory sentence of life in prison for murdering Jarvis May 23, 2012, on Ewing Street.

First Assistant District Attorney Mike Lucas said Jarvis’ teary-eyed mother, Shirmef Francine Cornelius of The Bronx, looked directly at Williams and reminded him, “You will always have your birthdays with your family.”

“He never showed any remorse,” Lucas said.

A jury convicted Williams of first-degree homicide in September after deliberating for about an hour at the close of a week-long trial during which DiSalle said he was “flabbergasted” when Williams indicated he wanted to change his story to say he killed Jarvis in self-defense.

Williams then declined to testify in his own defense as a surprise witness for the prosecution was prepared to testify he admitted to the crime while she drove him home after the shooting. Jarvis had moved from New York City to the Washington area shortly before he was murdered.

Lucas said there was never a clear motive for the homicide, only it was obvious “there was some beef between them” from surveillance video captured of the two meeting in Pickle’s Saloon shortly before the shooting.

He said Jarvis entered the bar and extended a handshake to Williams, who did not offer his hand. Later Williams asked Jarvis to “go outside.” They walked three blocks, where Williams shot Jarvis in the face, shoulder and chest with .357-caliber handgun.

Williams’ public defender, Glenn Alterio, has vowed to appeal his client’s conviction.

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