Looking up to ‘Bigfoot’

Nathan Wilson holds the unique distinction in High Point of having been charged with murder and then set free with a voluntary dismissal, not once but twice. He spent four months in jail in 1998, Manion said, before the police realized they had charged the wrong man. And Wilson spent six months in state prison in 2003 for possession of marijuana, according to North Carolina corrections records. A 2008 charge of assault on a female was dropped as part of a plea deal in which Wilson pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and resisting a police officer, according to court records. He served more than two years in prison, from October 2009 to December 2011, for those offenses.

At 42, Wilson is 14 years older than Gerald Williamson, and closer in age to Williamson’s mother, Dona, who now lives in Lexington. She remembered greeting Wilson by his nickname, “Foot.”

Gerald and two of his brothers would run out the door when Wilson walked up the street and yell, “Bigfoot! Bigfoot!” Dona Williamson said she corrected her sons, but Nathan Wilson would typically laugh at their mangling of his nickname.

Nathan Wilson and his cousins, the Pratts, grew to be close with her sons as the Williamsons moved through a series of public housing communities, including Carson Stout and Juanita Hills.

“We grew up everywhere, everybody, his family and my kids, they supposed to be just like this,” she said, pressing her index and middle fingers together. “Close. They hang together, chill together, get high and stuff like that.”

A Facebook page set up to pay tribute to Gerald Williamson is replete with fond reminiscences by friends about fighting and making up, and partying. Dona Williamson said her son loved kids, and enjoyed buying candy for kids in the neighborhood.

“He might get into a fight with you and squash the whole thing the next day,” she said. “He don’t get mad long because my son do got a heart. He hates to see people get hurt.”

When he was 18, Williamson went to prison for two years for larceny and indecent liberties with a child. Dona Williamson said her son had sex with a girl who told him she was 16 and turned out to be 12 or 13. Then, she said, one time when the girl invaded his privacy and he rebuffed her, she went and told someone that he had raped her.

More recently, Gerald Williamson served time for a Schedule I drug offense — a level that typically applies to heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

Slender but muscular with a winning smile, Gerald Williamson could inspire jealousy.

“He’s the type when he makes his money he tries to fix up his cars,” Dona Williamson said. “Okay, he got a Cadillac — a white Cadillac and he got two other black cars. Come to find out when he was with his girlfriend, someone shot at his window two times.

“I believe a bunch of them might be jealous of him because that fact that he do look good,” she continued. “And they think that he got a whole bunch of girls and they can’t get none.”

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