Local News

Williams Double Murder Trial Begins

Posted January 27, 1998

— A series of murders of Raleigh women over the span of a few months had some people in the community on edge. Wednesday, a trial began for a homeless man charged with two of those killings.

Police say John Williams, a drifter from Georgia, killed two Raleigh women and sexually assaulted five others. If he's convicted, he could be sentenced to die.

In late 1996 and early 1997, six African-American women were murdered in downtown Raleigh. Police feared that a serial killer was on the loose.

John Williams faces 14 charges, including two counts of murder, in connection with the deaths of Patricia Ashe and Deborah Elliott. He has also been charged with three counts of rape. Audrey Hall testified that Williams raped her in May 1996.

Hall admits that she sold sex for money and drugs sometimes.

Prosecutors say that Williams has an insatiable appetite for control and power. Defense attorneys say that the evidence just doesn't add up. Attorney Daniel Boyce says that the Raleigh Police Department was under pressure to arrest someone, and they nabbed Williams.

After eleven days of jury selection, the last juror was seated Wednesday morning. The prosecution began their case late in the morning, and folks expect this case to last for at least four weeks. Police say that the other murders are still under investigation.


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