William Marcus Wilson believed he was standing his ground when he fired at a pickup truck he says was trying to run his car off the road as he drove home with his girlfriend one night last month. But Wilson, 21, who goes by Marc, is a Black man from a small city in Georgia, and the girlfriend in the car with him was white, and, according to his family and attorneys, that fact has complicated matters.
Wilson, charged with murder in the death of a teenaged girl who was riding in the truck, has been in jail since June 17. “This is bigger than Marc,” said his aunt SaJuana Williams — meaning it raises the question of whether the principle of “Stand Your Ground” applies to Black men being threatened by white people.
SAJUANA WILLIAMS: My name is SaJuana Wilson Williams and Marc Wilson is my nephew. Marc is I wouldn't say you're a typical teenager. He goes beyond what a normal teenager would do. He's very loving. We are a close knit family, therefore Marc understands the values of family. He's a student athlete and with his stature of over 6 feet over 250 pounds, he's still very humble, very respectful. We, as a family, are a deep rooted faith-based family, and Marc exhibits those same characteristics.
CHANCE PRIDGEN: My name is Chance Pridgen, and I am Marc's cousin on his mother's side. Growing up, he was always the funny guy, the clown. You know, everybody loved him, he loved everybody. He was always one to bring people together. And you know, I've never found anyone that knows him personally that could say anything bad about him. If anybody knows him personally they love him.
SAJUANA WILLIAMS: When you think about where we are as a nation, what we have experienced this past six months, the issues and what caused us to be where we are today was because of the issues that our nation faced. My nephew would have never been in this situation, our family would have never had to experience something of this nature had he not been provoked, had he not been harassed, had he not been called out his name. There were several things that led up to what happened.
CHANCE PRIDGEN: Stand-your-ground is implemented across the country many times, but I do strongly believe that it was not implemented or extended to my cousin because of him being a biracial young man. I feel pretty strong that had that been me, the prosecution would have never happened.
SAJUANA WILLIAMS: We have a very diverse family. Marc was interracial. My sister-in-law, she's Caucasian. Marc's mother is Caucasian. We don't necessarily see color. We love-- we love people.
CHANCE PRIDGEN: It's just a very blended diverse family, you know, and none of us can understand how any person could discriminate or hate another person just because of, you know, what they look like. It's just it's not built in our DNA.
SAJUANA WILLIAMS: I am a Black woman. I have a Black son. I have grandsons, and that's a nightmare to think of what could possibly happen to my son, or my grandson, or any Black young man. We're hoping and praying that this will be something different in that we're all saying that love is going to conquer all. Because we are a loving people, because we are a diverse family, we want the world to see the real Marc and that justice will prevail.
CHANCE PRIDGEN: I can honestly say it has opened my eyes a lot to everything that's going around in the world today. Up until this incident, I can't say that I've ever experienced real racism until I've seen some of the stuff that's been said about my cousin. I believe God is using this family to show the world that we can all love one another. We can all be united. We don't have to be divided or hate one another just because of the way we look.
SAJUANA WILLIAMS: Actually, this is bigger than Marc. This will carry us to the next level. We're hoping to open doors, open eyes, so that others will see that we need to love and live together.
CHANCE PRIDGEN: Exonerated, innocent, freedom, and that's the only outcome that we're looking for.