Ethan Williams’ dad says son would’ve befriended killer

The heartbroken dad of an Illinois tourist gunned down on a Brooklyn stoop said Friday his son would’ve tried to befriend the killer if he hadn’t opened fire. 

Just moments after William Freeman, 26, pled not guilty to a second-degree murder indictment in the killing of Ethan Williams, 20, outside his Bushwick Airbnb on Oct. 23, 2020, the victim’s father was asked about his slain son. 

“He would’ve invited that guy onto the stoop to hang out if he had not shot at him,” Jason Williams answered to how he wants his son remembered. 

“He would’ve wanted to been his friend.” 

Ethan had been living out a lifelong dream to visit the Big Apple and was in town for a skateboarding tournament when he was fatally shot while sitting on a stoop with friends outside his rented Airbnb.

Ethan Williams (right) and his father Jason posing in an undated photo.
William Freeman, 26, appears in Brooklyn Supreme Court in a khaki jumpsuit.
William Freeman pled not guilty to murder and weapon possession charges.
Gabriella Bass

Freeman managed to evade cops for more than two years before they finally busted him Nov. 3 after a car in which he was riding was stopped by police, prosecutors said.

He allegedly confessed to the crime when he was in custody and told cops he mistook Ethan and his buddies for a group that killed his cousin a few weeks prior. 

Outside court, Freeman’s lawyer Jay Schwitzman said his client gave a “false confession” and was allegedly coerced into admitting the crime after police promised he could go home if he divulged what had happened.

“My position is that this is a false confession. Once I get the details and look at it I am confident that at the end of the day, you will see that promises were made, either on the record or off the record, to induce him to make false statements,” said Schwitzman.

Ethan Williams is pictured smiling in an undated photo.
Ethan Williams had long dreamed of visiting New York City before he was killed during his visit.
Williams family

He also questioned the strength of other evidence against his client.

“They say that this is such a strong case yet two years went by and there has been no arrest of my client until (last week) so that’s another factor we will be looking at in the course of this investigation,” the defense lawyer said.

“There is no explanation as to why. If they have such a strong case, why did they not arrest him in the two-year period that this incident took place? So I will be looking at that as well as the false confession.”

Jason Williams is pictured  speaking on Fox and Friends.
Jason Williams said his son would’ve tried to befriend his killer if he hadn’t opened fire on him.

Ethan’s parents said they are eager for justice. 

“It’s all just really sad. We miss Ethan, we’re looking forward to justice,” said Ethan’s mom, Susan Williams.

“He was a good kid. He didn’t deserve any of this.” 

Ethan Williams in his graduating cap and gown posing next to a female friend.
Ethan Williams was sophomore film student at Illinois University when he was killed.
Williams family

Freeman was indicted on murder and weapon possession raps last week and was remanded back to Rikers Island during the brief arraignment on the charges, where he made no comments beyond answering yes and no questions. 

“Ethan Williams was a kind and compassionate young man who had his whole life ahead of him,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement.

“His visit to New York City was the culmination of a lifelong dream and his untimely and unnecessary death is horrific and heartbreaking.” 

Freeman’s relatives didn’t comment on the case. He’s due back in court Feb. 23.