Hung jury prompts mistrial in murder case

Lawton_The murder trial of Timie Williams ended, Thursday in a mistrial.  Williams was accused of murder in the first degree for the shooting death of Ralph Roe in a July 2006 robbery.  TWednesday, the judge threw out investigator testimony that dealt with evidence collection at the scene of the crime.

The defense says the jury was too close to a split decision - voting 8 to 4.  So, since there was a hung jury, Judge William Stratton declared a mistrial.  The jury began their deliberation about 11:30 a.m. Thursday and returned to the courtroom with no unanimous verdict, which is required in a murder trial.  Williams' father had been anxious for the trial to end, but now, he'll have to continue waiting.  "Just have to keep on waiting and praying," he says.

Testimony during the trial may have been the cause of the split decision.  Witnesses of the crime gave conflicting testimony; one witness said they had seen Williams shoot Roe, and two others said they witnessed a black male fleeing the scene, but couldn't identify the man.  An agent of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation testified on crime scene analysis.  It was the determination of the witness that the bullet casing at the scene did not match the bullet in victim.

Defense Attorney Don Gutteridge, in closing, argued that more than one witness could even have committed the crime.  "More than one percent that could have perpetrated this crime," he said.  "If you can come up with more than one solution, that's kind of reasonable doubt."

It's the state's right to ask for a re-trial, and that's exactly what they plan to do.  A new jury will be chosen, and the trial is set for May.  Williams' father and attorney are trying to get him released on his $1 Million bond, but as of Thursday evening, Williams was still behind bars.  Count on 7News to keep you updated.