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Jurors to resume death penalty deliberations

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 4:52 a.m. HST, Jun 17, 2014

Jurors are expected to resume deliberations in whether a former Hawaii-based soldier receives the death penalty for the murder of his 5-year-old daughter.

The jury is expected to return to federal court in Honolulu Tuesday to continue deciding what sentence Naeem Williams will receive. They can choose a death sentence or life in prison without possibility for release.

The same jury convicted Williams in April of murder in the 2005 beating death of his daughter Talia.

The jury completed its second full day of deliberations on Friday. The jury has had Mondays off throughout the trial. U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright asked the jurors if they wanted to come in on Monday but they opted to resume deliberations on Tuesday.

This is the first death penalty trial in the history of Hawaii's statehood. Hawaii abolished the death penalty in 1957 but that's a possible sentence for Williams because the crimes took place in military housing and he was tried in the federal justice system.

So far, the jury has sent several notes to the judge during deliberations. One note asked for clarification on how to determine if a mitigating factor exists. The jurors are instructed to weigh a list of factors-- aggravating elements of the murder the prosecution argues show why the crime was especially heinous and deserves death and mitigating factors the defense argues are reasons why his life should be spared.

The seven aggravating factors include Talia was vulnerable because of her special needs including asthma and developmental delays and Williams delayed seeking medical attention for her. The defense presented 149 mitigating factors including he was raised in a system of corporal punishment and he has an intellectual disability.

During the trial, Williams testified that he beat Talia regularly to discipline her for bathroom accidents. During sentencing proceedings he read a statement to jurors apologizing for the killing and asking them to let him live.

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