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Ex-soldier found guilty in death penalty case

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 03:56 p.m. HST, Apr 24, 2014

Former Schofield Barracks soldier Naeem Williams was found guilty on Thursday of capital murder for the death of his 5-year-old daughter in the first death penalty case in state history.

The guilty verdict, reached by a federal jury in Honolulu, moves the trial to the penalty phase starting Tuesday in which the jurors will hear more testimony and then must decide whether Williams deserves the death penalty.

Williams, 34, was charged with capital murder for killing his daughter, Talia, on July 16, 2005, through child abuse. He was also charged with capital murder for killing Talia over a seven-month period through assault and torture. 

The jury of seven men and five women found him guilty of both capital murder counts and three other related charges — conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements — in the verdict that was read late Thursday morning.

Talia's mother, Tarshia Williams, nodded gently as the court clerk read the guilty verdict on each count, then looked to the ceiling and bowed her head.

"I'm happy that justice finally was served for my daughter," she said outside the courtroom. "It's been nine long years, and she can rest now knowing that her killer is guilty."

"I waited so many days, so many nights, so many years and finally got justice for her. My daughter can rest in peace."

Tarshia Williams, who was never married to the defendant but shares his last name, attended the trial every day, sitting through agonizing testimony. She said she did so because she wanted to know what her daughter went through.

"She had to go through all that pain all by herself," said Tarshia Williams, who lives in Atlanta. "So that's why I stayed there in the courtroom. It was hard, but I did it for her."

Asked her opinion about the penalty phrase , she said, "Whatever they decide, they decide."

Hawaii has not had the death penalty on its law books since the territorial Legislature abolished it in 1957 before statehood. However capital punishment remains under federal law and since the abuse took place at a Schofield Barracks home, prosecutors decided to pursue two death penalty murder counts.

The jurors began deliberations Wednesday after a six-week trial before federal Judge J. Michael Seabright that included excruciating details of the abuse and injuries suffered by Talia at the hands of her father and stepmother, both of whom admitted to routinely beating the child.

Federal prosecutors said on the day Talia died, Williams struck his daughter in the chest causing her to fall backward and hit her head on the concrete floor of the family's military quarters at Wheeler Army Airfield. Talia never got up and was pronounced dead at Wahiawa General Hospital less than three hours later. They say the blow to the chest also separated Talia's left shoulder.

The Honolulu medical examiner who performed the autopsy said Talia died from injuries sustained after her head hit the floor.

The government said Williams and his wife Delilah also killed Talia by subjecting her to months of assault and torture. 

Williams testified he hit his daughter with a belt and with his fist almost every day, sometimes knocking her out, and shoved his daughter to the floor and into walls. He also said he beat her after binding her head-to-toe with duct tape to a bedpost, deprived Talia of food and forced her to perform physically exhausting exercises. He said he saw his wife kick Talia and slam her head into the floor.

Delilah Williams, 30, testified she also hit her stepdaughter with a belt, stomped on her, slammed her head into a wall, pulled out clumps of her hair and also beat Talia after duct-taping her to a bedpost. She pleaded guilty in 2006 to killing Talia through assault and torture in exchange for a 20-year prison term.

In closing arguments Tuesday, prosecutor Steven Mellin said Williams and his wife stood by as the other beat the girl. "It was like they were trying to outdo each other," he said.

Williams testified he did hit his daughter on the day Talia died but his lawyers say Williams did not kill his daughter because the injuries that his wife inflicted are what lead to Talia's death.

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whatcanisay wrote:
Good job jury! Now finish this.......death penalty!
on April 24,2014 | 11:42AM
honupono wrote:
Talia may your soul rest in peace.
on April 24,2014 | 11:45AM
kmgym wrote:
So horrible what he and his wife did to that innocent little girl. They are monsters. The logical side of me understands the problems with the death penalty, but in this case I have to say I hope they sentence him to death.
on April 24,2014 | 11:50AM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
Will any of the liberals who oppose the death penalty have the courage to speak up about this case and explain why this guy should keep breathing our air?
on April 24,2014 | 11:51AM
krusha wrote:
The death penalty is not going to bring that girl back to life. Let this guy suffer in prison. Probably would not be treated very well by his fellow inmates when they find out what he was in there for.
on April 24,2014 | 12:31PM
honopic wrote:
Agree. The death penalty is the easy way out for a monster like Williams. He also disgraced the uniform he wore and the principles of the nation he took an oath to defend. Life in prison, with no chance of parole. Let the other inmates carry out the rest of the sentence as they see fit. Especially those with children of their own, and veterans. Daily beatings, or worse, would not be "cruel and unusual punishment" in this case. Also, put a cyanide pill in a glass case next to his bunk. Every night, he will have to decide if he wants to face another day.
on April 24,2014 | 12:45PM
boshio wrote:
Agree, however, I don't care to pay for his support for the rest of his sorry life. Let this guy die a slow death instead.
on April 24,2014 | 01:51PM
TigerEye wrote:
So, you think that the death penalty costs less than life in prison?
on April 24,2014 | 05:01PM
SteveToo wrote:
Yes if the darn liberals will let it get DONE in less than 20 years. Tomorrow is soon enough. On second thought tomorrow is already TO LATE.
on April 25,2014 | 06:49PM
Loki wrote:
Dying is not the easy way out. He needs to be sentenced to death. And for you folks who says killing him will not bring the girl back, neither will putting him in jail. But it is justice for what he put that defenseless kid through.
on April 24,2014 | 09:53PM
Kaimaka wrote:
Ken Conklin, why do you have to use every high profile issue as your soapbox? You politicize everything you say or write, even this tragic case in which liberals and neo-cons like yourself agree. Yet you still turn it around to be about you and your egocentric values and manage to poke a stick in the public's eye. Auwe, give it up already!
on April 24,2014 | 02:53PM
Skyler wrote:
It's ok. We get the same from the likes of wiliki re: Republicans. Some people just eat, breathe, and ruminate over partisan politics. Heck, they probably do it in their sleep.
on April 24,2014 | 07:04PM
SteveToo wrote:
Ken's right on this...It is a political thing....It's a LIBERAL problem.
on April 25,2014 | 06:51PM
jmarie wrote:
Doing the electric slide!!!! we need this in our state courts!
on April 24,2014 | 11:51AM
jyl wrote:
Yes, HI needs to bring back Capitol Punishment!!!
on April 24,2014 | 01:18PM
kiragirl wrote:
We as a society must protect those vulnerable to abuse. So sad that we failed. May you rest in peace.
on April 24,2014 | 11:55AM
browniegirl wrote:
I'm not sure how I feel on the death penalty in general. But if any case deserved it, this is it. If the death penalty is not given, at the very least, the sentence should include castration to keep him from making any more targets of his abuse, as well as a lifetime ban from having ANY contact from ANY child. EVER.
on April 24,2014 | 12:03PM
Solara wrote:
His wife deserves worse. She was the main instigator. But death would be too easy an escape for either.
on April 24,2014 | 12:42PM
boshio wrote:
How about leaving a piece of 6' rope in his cell to play with while waiting for his execution.
on April 24,2014 | 01:53PM
Warrior32 wrote:
God bless that baby Girl. May the angles give her soul eternal comfort.
on April 24,2014 | 12:05PM
volcanohereicome wrote:
Death penalty, no appeal...he's already admitted he's guilty. There needs to be swift justice for this little girl. Rest in peace.
on April 24,2014 | 12:11PM
false wrote:
So sad and sickening. No sense in people having a child,if they cannot love and take care of them.
on April 24,2014 | 12:11PM
tranquilseas4ever wrote:
Wife deserves it too. Evil Pair.
on April 24,2014 | 12:11PM
lowtone123 wrote:
May Talia finally find the peace and happiness in Heaven she never got to experience on Earth.
on April 24,2014 | 12:14PM
ClearHeaded wrote:
So who executes him and where?
on April 24,2014 | 12:17PM
solobiker1 wrote:
I thing it should be a slow beating to death for both of them. they need to suffer
on April 24,2014 | 12:26PM
browniegirl wrote:
Every day. For seven months.
on April 24,2014 | 12:31PM
glenn57377 wrote:
I heard on the radio today that if he gets the death penalty, it will be conducted on the mainland. Most likely in a Federal prison.
on April 24,2014 | 10:58PM
dlum003 wrote:
the Guillotine
on April 24,2014 | 12:21PM
kukui_nut wrote:
With the average wait time on death row now at around 15 years, taxpayers will be housing this guy for awhile.
on April 24,2014 | 12:24PM
Skyler wrote:
He's military - justice is more swift than in civilian life.
on April 24,2014 | 07:05PM
ryan02 wrote:
I agree with most of the comments here about the defendant. However, I am appalled that the biological mother can so smugly wish the death penalty on the father. The reason the father had custody was because the mother was unfit to raise her. The mother admitted the girl told her during a phone call that she was going to get another beating, but the mother didn't follow up. The girl was supposed to visit the mother in the summer, but the mother didn't follow up. The girl was killed over a 7-month period of time, and the mother didn't follow up. Yet she is suing the Army for "not following up" on the girl's abuse. So now the negligent mother will get rich off of the girl's death. What a wonderful country.
on April 24,2014 | 12:27PM
scooters wrote:
Fry the Ba$tard along with his evil wife...
on April 24,2014 | 12:36PM
Aikea wrote:
SCUM. Rot in hell.
on April 24,2014 | 12:43PM
bluemoki wrote:
What monsters! The y both deserve to be beaten to death, slowly over many months as the poor girl was.
on April 24,2014 | 12:51PM
linedancer wrote:
That poor innocent child suffered just as much as Jesus. May her soul rest in peace.
on April 24,2014 | 12:57PM
mjoseph wrote:
Unreal....so reason for this heinous torturing! Well, at least Talia isn't suffering from the hands of her own father and step-mother!
on April 24,2014 | 01:40PM
mjoseph wrote:
Unreal!.....well, this murdering father & step-mother have their days numbered!
on April 24,2014 | 01:45PM
BigIslandGrl wrote:
Thank God that justice prevails! They are pure evil. May God rest your soul little Talia.
on April 24,2014 | 01:46PM
kuewa wrote:
Actually, justice has not prevailed. The plea bargain for 20 years awarded to the stepmother is not justice in any way,shape or form. Her testimony against her husband was not necessary to convict him. The prosecutor(s) who came up with this deal should be censured.
on April 24,2014 | 01:52PM
Skyler wrote:
She'll get hers... don't worry.
on April 24,2014 | 07:06PM
NieleHK wrote:
Hang them both as soon as possible!
on April 24,2014 | 01:57PM
salsacoquibx wrote:
Firing squad should do..the military way
on April 24,2014 | 03:01PM
salsacoquibx wrote:
Death Penalty wouldn't work in Hawaii..the state is toooooo liberal
on April 24,2014 | 03:03PM
Anonymous wrote:
on April 24,2014 | 03:03PM
kailua000 wrote:
on April 24,2014 | 07:01PM
SteveToo wrote:
I throw the switch, push the plunger or kick the stool out from under him any day. Suck on that you lily livered liberals .
on April 25,2014 | 06:47PM
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