CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – A teenage Ferguson protester pleaded guilty Monday to setting a gas station on fire after multiple police killings rocked the area last year.
Joshua Williams, who turns 20 on Nov. 25, pleaded guilty to arson, burglary and stealing in St. Louis County Court.
Four months after the Aug. 9, 2014, death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, a new protest erupted after police shot and killed 18-year-old Antonio Martin outside a Mobil gas station on Dec 23 in Berkeley, Ferguson’s neighbor to the west.
Williams joined up with protesters that night. Sometime before dawn, looters shattered the glass of QuikTrip gas station in Berkeley, and the property caught fire.
Prosecutors charged Williams on Dec. 27, saying store surveillance captured the teen spraying lighter fluid in and around the gas station and convenience store.
A resident of north St. Louis County, Williams had become one of the more visible protesters in Ferguson after the shooting death of Brown. Various media outlets photographed and quoted Williams during the protests, and he was photographed in October walking arm in arm with activist Cornel West as they marched toward St. Louis University for a staged sit-in.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also photographed Williams shouting in the face of St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson during a Ferguson Commission Meeting last year as the police chief tried to answer questions.
Williams was arrested at least twice during the protests for unlawful assembly and refusal to disperse.
His sentencing is set for Dec. 10.
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