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Death penalty jury to announce decision on Friday

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:56 p.m. HST, Jun 26, 2014

The jury in the capital murder trial of former Schofield Barracks soldier Naeem J. Williams told the court Thursday that they have reached a decision on whether he should be sentenced to death or to life in prison.

However, the announcement of the decision will not be read in court until Friday at 9 a.m. In a note to U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright, the jury said the process has been "emotionally draining" and that they wanted to delay the reading of the decision until Friday. 

Seabright said he would accept the verdict, seal it in an envelope and excuse the jury for the day. He said he wouldn't look at it until the morning. He said that on Friday morning, he'll make sure the verdict form is filled out properly and then the verdict will be read. 

The defense and prosecution objected to delaying the reading, saying they preferred it to be read immediately. Attorneys on both sides declined to comment outside of court on how the verdict is being handled.

Thursday was the seventh day of jury deliberations on whether Williams should die for his crimes. 

This is the same jury that found Williams, 34, guilty on April 24 of two capital offenses. One is for killing his daughter, Talia, in their military family quarters at Wheeler Army Airfield on July 16, 2005, through child abuse.  The other is for killing her after torturing her for months.

Talia Williams was 4 years old when she arrived in Hawaii to live with her father and stepmother, Delilah Williams, in December 2004. By the time she died seven months later, she had experienced food deprivation and almost daily beatings -- first with a plastic ruler, then a belt at the hands of her father and stepmother. The beatings continued with her father using his fists.

The case is the first capital murder case tried in the state of Hawaii.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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