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Man Who Reportedly Sang Song While Killing Teen Sentenced: "He Showed No Remorse"

jj-willman-image.jpg
via Facebook
James "JJ" Willman.
Keith Meiners, 21, reportedly sang a rock song while he was killing James Robert "JJ" Willman, age nineteen, back in 2010.

But this week when he was sentenced to spend 25 years behind bars, he was quiet and expressionless -- except for one moment when he smiled at the victim's family, according to Willman's relatives.

"He showed no remorse," says Kristin Durbin, who was at the sentencing hearing on Monday and is the former girlfriend of Willman's father.

She tells Daily RFT that the victim's family members, who were hoping for a stiffer sentence, saw Meiners "smirking" on their way out. And, she says, he winked at them, too.

That kind of behavior may not be entirely surprising for a murder suspect who reportedly sang "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," a song by rock band Cage the Elephant, as he strangled Willman, a Woodson Terrace teenager.

See also:
- Help Find Missing Woodson Terrace Teen JJ Willman
- JJ Willman: Body of Teen Missing Since November Discovered In Woods
- Man Sang "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" As He Strangled Victim to Death

Meiners, convicted of beating Willman and leaving him to die in a field, got his 25-year sentence on Monday on a second-degree murder charge, despite the family's push for a first-degree conviction.

keith-meiners.jpg
Keith Meiners.

The decision marks the end of a long saga that began when Willman went missing in November and was not found for months after. Eventually, police located his car, which was stripped of its license plate, and then discovered his body in March of 2011 in the woods off of Columbia Bottoms Road in north St. Louis County.

"There is some closure," says Durbin, a 40-year-old Maplewood resident who runs the Facebook page in the teenager's honor. "It's never going to be complete. Watching the news and seeing the posters, the old pictures from when he was missing. That will never be forgotten. And the pain of him not being here will never be forgotten."

jj-willman-2.jpg
via Facebook
James "JJ" Willman.

She continues, "It doesn't bring JJ back. It doesn't bring him back at all."

Meiners allegedly confessed to singing while he strangled Willman and said to a friend after the homicide: "Took care of my problem."

Prosecutors said in court that Meiners was jealous about a girl, lured Willman away from a party under false pretenses then beat him by stepping on his throat until he stopped breathing.

jj-willman-3.jpg
via Facebook

The family, Durbin says, is grateful that he will at least be spending time behind bars for the near future.

"A lot of kids were afraid of him. The simple fact that he is going to be gone for a long time I'm sure is soothing for the kids and for the families," she says.

Durbin adds, "He showed no emotion throughout the entire trial."

Willman, who would have turned 22 next week, was "a great friend to many" and "did whatever he could for anyone," she says.

"JJ was a sweetheart," she says. "When he and I met, he gave me a hug.... He was silly. He was funny.... He was upbeat."

Durbin says she is grateful for all the assistance the family has received from supporters on Facebook and elsewhere who publicized his face when he went missing, helping police solve the case.

"We want to make sure that everyone knows that we appreciate everything they did for us," she says.

jjwillman-missing.jpg
via Facebook
Original missing flyer.

In high school, Willman often made friends with new students or loners and did his best to make everyone feel welcome, Durbin says. And he was really close with his brother Jake.

In an e-mail to us, Durbin adds, "He was a nineteen-year-old who had his entire life ahead of him and was cut short because of another young man who was unable to deal with his hatred and anger for others his age."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
ominous_anthropoid
ominous_anthropoid

Remove his vocal cords to keep him from screaming as he gets continuously mounted.

Boogie
Boogie

To the grieving victim's family, here are some words of solace.

1. He is going to be targeted because he is a slightly built white boy from the suburbs. Probably will be assaulted everyday and probably anally raped, and "owned" by a stronger thug and passed around.Violent prisoners have nothing to do all day and have to invent ways of entertaining oneself. The kid's two choices will be hop the wall or bend over. That much stress might make him kill himself, problem solved.

2. If he does the 25, he will be 46 years old, long forgotten by most if not all of his family members. He might be lucky and have his parents come visit him on Sundays, but that will taper off over time. His siblings (if he has any) will probably never see him or have anything to do with him. The same will be true if he does 12 years, or 5 years or whatever. His goose is cooked.

3.) Whenever he gets out of prison, no one will hire him to do anything. McDonalds wont even look at him for a second. He will be homeless and destitute and will go back to crime just to support himself, and he will eventually go back to the can (prison).

Dennis Rudroff
Dennis Rudroff

He will probably get out after 12 years or less.

Martin Bathe Jr.
Martin Bathe Jr.

I wonder if this shit bum would be singing if he was on the gallows ready to be hung.

Kevin Rudroff
Kevin Rudroff

Drop him in the middle of the ocean,while singing "under the Tahitian moon" by Porno for Pyros, of course

Bob Pawelek
Bob Pawelek

He probably never sang the song he thinks it sounds good to say it now. He will have a long time to think about it.

Billy Freeman
Billy Freeman

I think this dude missed the point of the song.

Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

Waste of a good song. Psychopath. RIP.

Dave Brown
Dave Brown

He was just trying to be friendly

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