Local News

Defense Begins Presenting Case in Williams Trial

Posted February 23, 1998

— A Wake County judge says he will not dismiss the charges against a man accused of murdering two women in Raleigh. The prosecution has rested it's case against John Williams, and his lawyers had asked for dismissal saying prosecutors haven't proven their case.

Defense attorneys say there is no physical evidence and no eyewitnesses that directly link their client to the crimes he's accused of.

After the judge refused their request, the defense attorneys began presenting their side of the story. Prosecutors had presented over 140 witnesses and 350 exhibits.

Williams is charged with killing two women and sexually assaulting five others. Investigators say one of those women, Deborah Elliott, was killed on Christmas Eve, 1996, but a defense witness said he saw her alive with another man on Christmas day. The witness said the two were arguing when he say them.

The defense has continually tried to point to other suspects who might have committed the crimes. A detective testified Tuesday that there were at least eight other suspects in one of the murder cases.

The judge says, however, that unless defense attorneys can directly link any of the other suspects to the crimes, the information is inadmissible. He said he would be watching the defense very closely on that issue.

Another part of the defense strategy has been to emphasize that the victims, Deborah Elliot and Patricia Ashe were addicted to crack cocaine and allegedly traded sex for drugs. It's a strategy the victims' families don't like.

After just a few witnesses, the defense rested. Williams, who is accused of murdering two women and assaulting 5 others, chose not to testify.

Closing arguments will begin Wednesday morning and then the judge will explain the law surrounding possible verdicts to the jury. The jury could get this case by the afternoon.

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