‘Thrill Kill’ murderer released back into Santa Clara County

(KRON) — One of two men who carried out a Satanist-inspired “thrill kill” murder in San Jose was freed from prison and released back into Santa Clara County. Former inmate Jae Williams, 29, was granted early release on November 20, court records show.

Williams was a 15-year-old high school student when he and his 16-year-old friend, Randy Thompson, decided they wanted to kill someone. The boys befriended 15-year-old Michael Russell with the sole intention of murdering him in 2009.

The victim’s family’s attorney, Scotty J. Storey, told KRON4, “Jae and Randy set out with a goal of killing someone just to find out what it felt like. They cultivated a ‘friendship’ with Mikey, lulling him into a sense of security with them, to achieve their goal.”

When San Jose Police Department homicide detectives were investigating the teen’s grisly death, Williams told police that his religion, Satanism, gave him permission to kill.

The three boys went to Russell’s house on Nov. 10, 2009. When the trio was alone in the backyard, Williams and Thompson attacked the victim with a knife. They reportedly took turns stabbing the Santa Teresa High School student.

Storey said the terror Russell must have felt realizing his “friends” were going to kill him is unimaginable.

Jae Williams
Jae Williams is seen in a 2018 prison mugshot. (Image via California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

With Williams freed from prison, the victim’s surviving family members are also terrified, Storey said.

“They are very disappointed in the legislative system that created the statute, which lead his release. They are also terrified for themselves and for society. There is no indication that Jae Williams ever showed any contrition or remorse for taking Mikey’s life or the brutal way that he and Randy murdered him,” Storey told KRON4.

For their trials, Thompson and Williams were charged and convicted as adults, and sentenced to serve 26 years to life in prison. Senate Bill 1391, passed in 2018, prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from being charged as an adult. After California’s law passed, Williams’ case was transferred into juvenile court.

Thompson — who was just one year older than Williams at the time of the “Thrill Kill” — remains locked up in San Quentin State Prison, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson confirmed to KRON4. “He was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder. He is in CDCR custody,” the spokesperson wrote.

Thompson’s next parole hearing is scheduled for March of 2024. He will be eligible for parole in May of 2028, according to state inmate records.

Williams was set free hours after a discharge hearing was held in Santa Clara County juvenile court on November 20. His mother, Christina Trujillo, and defense attorney, Lewis Octavio Romero, appeared in the courtroom with him, court records state.

The court set the following probation conditions on the convicted murderer’s release:

  • Williams cannot change his place of residence without prior approval from his probation officer.

  • Williams is forbidden from associating with Thompson. He is also barred from having any “intentional contact” with the victim’s family members.

  • He must participate in re-entry services.

  • He may not leave his family’s home between 11 p.m.-6 a.m.

  • He must attend school, vocational training, or maintain full-time employment.

  • Williams may not use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • He is subject to search and seizure at any time by law enforcement.

  • Williams is not allowed to own firearms until he turns 30 years old on June 8, 2024.

If Williams violates his probation conditions, he could be ordered back to jail for no longer than six months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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