Man convicted in strangulation of Gwinnett mother, 2-year-old son in 2017

Brandon Craig Williams sentenced to 2 life sentences
Natalie Nation and her son, Cole, were strangled in Gwinnett County in 2017.

Natalie Nation and her son, Cole, were strangled in Gwinnett County in 2017.

Brandon Craig Williams strangled a woman and her 2-year-old son who had been renting a room in his family’s Gwinnett County home, according to investigators.

Then, Williams left the home, mumbling that he needed to burn it down. When his father went inside, he found the bodies of Natalie and Cole Nation in their bedroom and called 911. It was Easter Sunday 2017.

This week, a jury convicted the 38-year-old of two counts of malice murder, Gwinnett District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson said. He was given two life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole.

In addition to malice murder, Williams was convicted of two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault and cruelty to children in the first degree, Austin-Gatson said.

When police arrived at the Buford-area home after the murders, an officer said Williams claimed that “he was outside looking for signs of the universe. He kept asking me and another officer if we were ‘six-pointed stars,’” a report stated.

After Williams was arrested, his attorney claimed he was innocent. “There is no evidence that my client laid a hand upon either of these two individuals,” Robert Greenwald said at a probable cause hearing.

However, investigators determined Williams was responsible for the deaths. Autopsies determined the cause of death for both was blunt force trauma and strangulation.

“The defendant’s DNA was found along with the adult victim’s DNA on the towel used to kill the victim,” the DA’s office said in a press release. “No other individuals were seen going in or out of the residence at the time of the murder.”

Brandon Williams was convicted of murder in the 2017 deaths of a mother and her 2-year-old son.

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Williams has remained in the Gwinnett jail since his arrest on April 17, 2017, booking records show. On Tuesday, he was awaiting his transfer to state prison.

The deaths shocked the Habersham Hills neighborhood, the same neighborhood where Natalie Nation had grown up, according to a friend.

“She loved her son with all of her heart,” Donna Kurhanewicz, a family friend and longtime neighbor, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the deaths. “Her whole family loved the ground he walked on. He just lit up a room.”

Hours before the two were killed, little Cole had hunted for Easter eggs at a gathering on a family farm.

“This is just devastating,” Kurhanewicz said. “There are so many lives that have been affected by this.”