Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

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Stepmom's role troubled jurors

Delilah Williams will get a 20-year term in the death of 5-year-old Talia

By Associated Press


Delilah Williams testified at her husband's murder trial that she had stomped on her 5-year-old stepdaughter so hard that she heard bone crack.

She said she and her former soldier husband abused the girl regularly while they lived in Army housing in Hawaii, beating her with belts and withholding food for days.

Because of her testimony and a binding plea agreement, Williams will be sentenced to 20 years in prison, including nine years already served, in federal court Tuesday, a prosecutor and her defense attorney said.

And her acknowledged role in the abuse helped keep her husband, Naeem Williams, from receiving the death penalty after he was convicted of murder. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Interviewed after the panel was unable to agree on a sentence in his trial, jurors said some of them partly blamed Delilah Williams for the death of Talia Williams.

"She's an evil person," juror Clarence Kaona Jr. said. "It was because of her."

Federal Public Defender Alexander Silvert, who represents Delilah Williams, had expected her guilty plea to a murder charge to have a major impact on the jury hearing the case against her husband. During the penalty phase of his trial, eight jurors wanted him executed; four sought life in prison.

"All along we thought that the deal the government struck with Delilah would be a very big factor for any juror in imposing the death penalty for Naeem," Silvert said.

Some of the jurors planned to attend her sentencing.

"Hopefully that will give me some closure," juror Kelle Mata said about traveling to the Hono­lulu courtroom from his home on Kauai to honor the young victim.

Jurors said they considered many different factors in reaching their individual decisions.

In the end, jurors agreed the decision before them involved Naeem Williams, not his wife, Mata said.

"The bottom line came down to, she didn't do the last blow," he said.

Prosecutors say Naeem Williams delivered a deadly punch on July 16, 2005, that left knuckle imprints on Talia's chest. He testified that he beat her that day in part because she spit toothpaste all over the sink.

"I went for death," Mata said, noting that he had considered testimony about childhood abuse of the defendant. "Though it was a hard decision because I understand his past, of him being abused and him having a psycho wife … had that influence."

Fellow juror Betty Jane Auten said she considered the influence of Delilah Williams on her husband, "but Naeem could have stopped Delilah at any time from hurting his child."

Some jurors said her plea deal was unfair.

"I just felt that was a done deal, we can't change that," Auten said. "We need to be focusing on his actions and what he did and didn't do to protect his daughter."

When jurors were finally able to discuss the case with each other, they unloaded their feelings about the horrible things done to the child.

"People were crying, screaming, just getting out all the emotion that we had to keep in for so long," Mata said.

When Delilah Williams, 30, completes the remainder of her sentence, she'll be about 40.

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Associated Press

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LMO wrote:
"...he beat her that day in part because she spit toothpaste all over the sink." That certainly called for her death. This case shows a complete failure of the Army Family Advocacy Program.
on July 8,2014 | 02:07AM
COlohe1 wrote:
Let's go from one extreme to another...release the couple after they serve a year for their crime.
on July 8,2014 | 07:19AM
cojef wrote:
What troubles me is that according to news accounts, her husband was willing to plea bargain and yet the prosecutors opted to proceed with the trial on the hopes of obtaining a death penalty at tremendous costs that were predictable. For starters, Hawaii being a no death penalty state would suggest the difficulty in finding a jury that would be favorable to the prosecution, and secondly the cost of obtaining expert behavioral testimony relating to the accused would be costly. A judicious cost analysis would have favored accepting the plea bargain.
on July 8,2014 | 08:30AM
krusha wrote:
Ironic that this lady was named Delilah. With the way she has acted in prison so far, you know she was the one who pushed her husband over the edge. She is truly evil and should spend the rest of her life behind bars instead of just 10 years.
on July 8,2014 | 08:42AM
Bully wrote:
This lady was the worst of two evils, she should have got the death penalty.
on July 8,2014 | 09:56AM
Ripoff wrote:
f****** SICK
on July 8,2014 | 10:34AM
AFishOutofH20 wrote:
Crucify her!!!!!!!!
on July 8,2014 | 10:57AM
hikine wrote:
She controlled her husband's actions because he's supposedly mentally challenged and can't reason appropriately because of it according to his defender but if this is so then why did the military allowed to possess a gun! The stepmom was probably jealous of the child or really had low tolerance with the child's mental development but it doesn't give both of them the excuse of mentally and physically torturing her, she was just a kid for goodness sake!
on July 8,2014 | 08:28PM
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