One of the ‘Thrill Kill’ murderers released

4 mins read

One of the two men who carried out a Satanist-inspired “thrill kill” murder in San Jose was released from prison and back into Santa Clara County. 

Former inmate Jae Williams, 29, was granted early release on November 20. 

Williams was 15 years old when he and his 16-year-old friend, Randy Thompson, decided they wanted to kill someone. 

The boys befriended 15-year-old Michael Russel with the intent to murder him in 2009. 

The victim’s family’s attorney, Scotty J. Storey, told the press, “Jae and Randy set out with a goal of killing someone just to find out what it felt like. They cultivated a ‘friendship’ with Mikey, lulling him into a sense of security with them, to achieve their goal.”

When San Jose Police Department homicide detectives were investigating Russel’s death, Williams told police that his religion, Satanism, had permitted him to kill. 

On November 10, 2009, the three boys went to Russel’s house, and Williams and Thompson attacked the victim with a knife. 

They reportedly took turns stabbing Russel. 

With Williams freed from prison, the victim’s surviving family members are also terrified, Storey said.

“They are very disappointed in the legislative system that created the statute, which lead his release. They are also terrified for themselves and for society. There is no indication that Jae Williams ever showed any contrition or remorse for taking Mikey’s life or the brutal way that he and Randy murdered him,” Storey told the press.

For their trials, Thompson and Williams were charged and convicted as adults, and sentenced to serve 26 years to life in prison. 

In 2018, Senate Bill 1391 passed and this prohibits anyone under the age of 16 from being charged as an adult. Afterward, William’s case was transferred to juvenile court. 

Thompson — who was just one year older than Williams at the time of the “Thrill Kill” — remains locked up in San Quentin State Prison, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson confirmed. 

“He was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder. He is in CDCR custody,” the spokesperson wrote.

Thompson’s next parole hearing is scheduled for March 2024. He will be eligible for parole in May of 2028, according to state inmate records.

The court set the following probation conditions on the convicted murderer’s release:

  • Williams cannot change his place of residence without prior approval from his probation officer.
  • Williams is forbidden from associating with Thompson. He is also barred from having any “intentional contact” with the victim’s family members.
  • He must participate in re-entry services.
  • He may not leave his family’s home between 11 p.m.-6 a.m.
  • He must attend school, vocational training, or maintain full-time employment.
  • Williams may not use, possess, or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • He is subject to search and seizure at any time by law enforcement.
  • Williams is not allowed to own firearms until he turns 30 years old on June 8, 2024.

If Williams violates his probation conditions, he could be ordered back to jail for no longer than six months.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.