Child's murder will be state's first death penalty trial in decades

Child's murder will be state's first death penalty trial in decades

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The capital murder trial for a former Scofield Barracks soldier will begin Tuesday morning.

34-year old Naeem Williams is accused of killing his 5-year old daughter, Talia Williams in July of 2005.  According to investigators, the girl was beaten because she wet herself that day but, court documents show, she was a victim of repeated abuse.

The girl's stepmother, Delilah Williams, pleaded guilty and is testifying against her husband.

Hawaii abolished the death penalty in the 1950's, and it's been even longer since a death penalty jury trial has taken place in the state.  But because this alleged crime happened on Wheeler Army Airfiled base, it's a federal case.

Defense Attorney Bill Harrison, a member of the Hawaii Innocence Project, says the federal government should not impose the death penalty on a state that doesn't allow it.

"It's very tragic," says Harrison.  "It's really important for the people of Hawaii to say, no, we don't want it."

Harrison says the Department of Justice has to approve all capital punishment cases and should respect the wishes of each state.

The trail is expected to last three months.  If Williams is convicted, he will be sent to a mainland federal prison to either serve his sentence or serve until he is executed.