Guilty verdict in Williams trial

Lawton_After an hour of deliberation on Wednesday, a jury decided that Lawton teenager Timie Williams is guilty of murder.  The jury said Williams murdered 43-year-old Ralph Roe in July, 2006.

The second and final day of testimony featured two expert witnesses:  a medical examiner and a firearms expert.  The medical examiner said Roe was shot in the right arm, and the bullet broke his arm before entering his chest.  It went through his lung and liver before lodging in his stomach.  The weapons expert said the bullet was too damaged to verify, but a shell casing found at the scene matched the gun that a known drug dealer had testified he had given to Williams.

Defense Attorney Jim Berry questioned whether the testimony of the drug dealer could be believed, since the admitted dealer is a convicted felon.  The dealer said Williams had asked him for the gun so he could rob someone.  In his closing statement, Berry asked the jury why a convicted felon would give an acquaintance a gun to use in a crime.

Berry also questioned the testimony of two witnesses who did not contact law enforcement with information about the case until after Williams' first trial in January.  One of those individuals is also a convicted felon.  "We felt there were a lot of holes in the case, because of the nature of the witnesses who testified for the state were certain gang members," said Berry.  "They had a couple of convicted felons."

Judge William Stratton said that testimony by convicted felons is considered "impeachment evidence," and jurors are not required to believe it.  Williams couldn't be convicted solely on the basis of their words since the evidence had to confirm the testimony.

Prosecutor Rande Worthen said that the evidence pointed to Williams, and said that the only connection between all of the witnesses was Williams.  Worthen said that for any other person to have actually committed the crime, the witnesses would have had to conspire to pin it on Williams.

Berry also questioned the accuracy of eyewitness testimony due to variances in testimony, but the jury agreed that all the evidence pointed to Williams as the shooter.  "We got a fair trial," said Berry.  "Judge Stratton made sure that the state and the defendant got a fair trial."

Berry has not decided if they will appeal, and there will be investigation of the trial before sentencing.  As a youthful offender, Williams will be sentenced to either life in prison, or life in prison without parole.  Williams maintains his innocence, and Berry says he will continue to represent Williams until the conclusion of the case.

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