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Jurors split 8-4 in favor of capital punishment

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    2014 June 27 CTY Death Penalty jury coming out of Federal court after sentence of life imprisonment for Naeem. SA photo by Craig T. Kojima

The jury in the Naeem Williams case split 8-4 in favor of the death penalty, after deliberating seven days on that question and spending more than three months immersed in the horrific details of the case. 

“The hardest part for me was deciding death or life, can I do that to somebody?” said Clarence Kaone, who flew to court every week from his home in Anahola, Kauai.

In the end, he felt Williams deserved the ultimate punishment: “Death,” he said Friday. “No doubt in my mind.”

Because the jurors could not unanimously agree on the death penalty, Williams will receive a life sentence without the chance of parole when he is formally sentenced in October.

Jurors interviewed all agreed that they all respected each other and worked well together. 

“We were all getting along,” said Earlanne Leslie of Hilo, who dabbed her eyes after the verdict was read. “We got along in there.”

“I feel drained,” added Leslie who declined to say how she voted.

The court offered counseling to jurors, who had to view grisly autopsy photos and hear repeated testimony detailing beatings, stomping and other systematic abuse of little Talia, who was 5 years old when she died in 2005.

Another juror, who identified herself as a homemaker and declined to give her name, said she had hoped for a different outcome. 

“I abided and respect my fellow jurors,” she said. “I just don’t feel, for the little girl, that justice has been served. The things that had been done to her were just atrocious.”

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