While in prison, he said he’d perform and catch episodes of the show he’d someday audition for. Singing saved him from succumbing to the darkness of his situation.
When a white woman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was raped and stabbed in 1982, she repeatedly identified Williams as her rapist.
Williams, then 22, said he was home asleep at the time of the assault, and his fingerprints weren’t found at the scene, but “as a poor black kid, [he] didn’t have the economic ability to fight the state of Louisiana,” he said in an interview before his performance.
Finally, in March 2019, Williams’ fingerprints were submitted to a powerful fingerprint ID system. And finally, it was proven that a man who’d committed other sexual assaults in the neighborhood was responsible for the crimes Williams was convicted of, according to the registry.
That month, Williams’ charges were dismissed and, at 58, he was freed.
A second chance on ‘AGT’
The judges were stunned when Williams shared his story. And when he completed his affecting audition, all four of them — plus those in attendance — rose to give him a standing ovation.
“I will never, ever listen to that song the same way after you sang that,” judge Simon Cowell told him. “This is an audition I will never forget for the whole of my life, Archie.”
Williams’ audition airs on Tuesday at 8 p.m. when the new season of “America’s Got Talent” premieres on NBC.