Hawaii first death penalty case begins - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's first death penalty case begins

Naeem Williams Naeem Williams
Talia Williams Talia Williams
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Darren Ching delivered the government's opening arguments Tuesday in the trial against a former Schofield soldier accused of killing his daughter.

Ching said 5-year old Talia Williams suffered excruciating pain and daily beatings at the hands of her father and stepmother. Both the government and defense admit this, but Naeem Williams' attorney says the former soldier did not deliver the fatal blow that caused her death on July 16, 2005.

The defense said the former soldier beat the girl but that the fatal injuries were dealt by his wife -- Delilah Williams. She has pleaded guilty and will spend 20 years in prison but she will first testify against her husband.

The trial is expected to last at least three months.

There are 18 people in the jury box. Attorneys asked that one juror be removed because he dozed off during opening arguments. Judge J. Michael Seabright refused, saying he did immediately ask the jury to stand and stretch as soon as he saw the juror nod off. He also said that removing jurors for that would leave them with no one left to deliberate.

Naeem Williams could get the death penalty even though Hawaii abolished it in the '1950's. The case is being held in federal court because the alleged crime happened on base.

Related Link:

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

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