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Biography: Willie King, Victim's Friend
 

William Jefferson King was born on October 13, 1957 to James and Eula King in Biloxi, Mississippi. The King family was a middle-to-lower class family with four children. William was the youngest, behind two brothers and a sister.

Early on in his life, the King family noticed that William had difficulty settling down. He was always shifting gears and interests. In elementary school, he became fascinated by heavy equipment and construction tools. He told everyone that he wanted to be a construction worker when he grew up. His father worked out a deal with a friend so that William could go to the construction site of a new hotel and run errands for the workers. He enjoyed dodging the equipment and the running through the frantic work zone in order to fetch cigarettes and sandwiches for the men. But, one day, he just quit going to the construction site, and when his father asked him why, he told him it was boring. In junior high, William developed a passion for football. His schoolwork suffered as he fanatically practiced and worked out in an effort to become a dominating wide receiver. However, by his freshman year in high school, he had lost interest. By then, music was his passion.

In the early 1970s, William spent more and more time with music. He skipped school so he could hang out and listen to records. Bands like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton introduced William to the blues. Although he had grown up in Mississippi, he hadn't really been exposed yet to the wail of the blues, which was primarily based in the delta. However, once he started listening to Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, and Muddy Waters, William was hooked. He bought an old guitar and spent hours trying to decipher the licks he heard on those records.

Because of his inability to focus on anything for long periods of times, William's high school career was unimpressive to say the least. He dropped out his senior year and began working at a factory in Biloxi. When he was twenty, William married Rebecca Handell and they set up home in an apartment on the outskirts of Biloxi.

The marriage was a tumultuous affair since William's inability to focus also included women. His wandering eye and heart was a constant source of friction in the marriage and there were many nights when William just wouldn't come home. After five years of marriage, Rebecca had enough of William's infidelities. One night William went out with the boys from work, he met a woman from Arkansas, who was working in Biloxi long enough to save some money to travel down to Tampa, Florida. William went home with the woman and when he finally returned to his apartment, Rebecca was gone.

Single again, William began wandering around Mississippi for several years. For a while, he worked as a forklift operator in Tupelo. Then, he moved on to driving a bulldozer on a construction site in Grenada. He also found employment at a hospital in Hattiesburg for some time. The one constant in his life during this time was the blues. He had bought a Stratocaster and an old Fender amp and had begun listening to Buddy Guy and Albert King. He would work during the day, return to an apartment that looked just like the one in the last town, and play the blues until his neighbors yelled for him to stop. Finally in the mid-1980s, William began playing in small bars and clubs, and started going by the much more blues-sounding nickname of Willie. He brought together a few other musicians and formed the band known today as Sugar Whiskey. He was surprised to find that they quickly developed a following. As soon as Willie and the band were able to support themselves playing music, they quit their day jobs and moved to Oxford, where they could easily try out new songs and sets on the college crowd.

In Oxford, Willie found a home for his music and his lifestyle. Willie found that, once he became known as a bluesman, people not only excused his drinking, his fights, and his affairs, they practically expected those things. Willie had always been a drinker, but in the college town, flush with money from frat boys, Willie began taking drugs. He used marijuana and swiftly moved on to cocaine. Even an arrest in 1997 didn't slow Willie down.

His life did downshift a bit when he met Carmen Rodriguez, while Sugar Whiskey was performing in San Antonio, Texas. He liked her fire and attitude and they quickly became an item. Carmen moved to Oxford and tamed Willie to some degree. She disapproves of narcotics and has tried to get Willie to settle down. Carmen is also extremely jealous and constantly accuses Willie of having affairs. Of course, Willie likes playing his bluesman role, so even during the times when he is monogamous, he still goes out of his way to flirt with the ladies who attend his shows, fueling Carmen's jealousies in the process.

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