ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester parolee pled not guilty to the murder of two men Thursday, one of which was the city’s most recent homicide.

According to officials, parole absconder Christopher Williams was arrested and charged with two counts of murder in the second degree for the shooting deaths of Marcus Bennett and Kenneth Johnson.

Bennett and Johnson were both killed as a result of altercations that involved the parolee, police say.

RPD documents show that 47-year-old Bennett was fatally shot on the Saturday evening of July 16 and later found by responding officers in the backyard of 287 Sixth Street. Investigators at the time said learned that the address was frequently used to sell marijuana after finding a “menu” posted in the front window where transactions were being carried out.

Authorities never connected the sale of marijuana to the death of Bennett and instead said he was shot as a result of a fight with Williams.

Nearly a month later, police responded to the 300 block of Roycroft Drive for multiple reports of gunshots fired. When they arrived they found 26-year-old Kenneth Johnson inside a residence suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital.

During the course of the investigation, police determined Johnson was hanging out at the residence with a number of people, including Williams. Officials believe an altercation ensued between the two men, leading to the parolee allegedly shooting and killing Johnson.

The alleged murder of Johnson marked the city’s 47th homicide and it’s third homicide in the span of three days. His death came ahead of a 68-year-old man who was attacked at a homeless shelter and killed Sunday, and a 16-year-old Rochester student who was shot and killed in front of him home. 

Members of the United States Marshal’s Violent Felony Task Force located Williams on Wednesday afternoon at a residence in Irondequoit and took him into custody without further incident.

Officials say he will be arraigned Thursday on two counts of murder in the second degree, along with several counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Williams is currently on parole for a 2015 arson conviction after intentionally starting a fire at a location with a person inside. He was sentenced to five years in prison for that offense. As an inmate, he was convicted for possessing prison and given an additional year in jail. Police say he was released from prison and placed on parole in September of 2021.

Since his release on parole, authorities say Williams has (been):

  • Arrested for a domestic-related felony criminal mischief in November of 2021
  • Caught on camera footage damaging a marked police car by punching it multiple times
  • Charged with an additional count of criminal mischief
  • Cut off his parole ankle monitor and was arrested on May 19, 2022
  • Smashed out windows of a house during a domestic dispute on May 30, 2022
  • Cut off his ankle monitor a second time on July 5, 2022