Naeem Williams gets life in prison for killing 5-year-old daughter
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Naeem Williams stood, slouched at the shoulders, as the judge announced the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on whether the ex-Schofield soldier should die for killing his daughter.
"I think we were prepared and very concerned that we would have a death verdict. So we were relieved and grateful to the jury," defense attorney John Phillipsborn said.
The seven man-five woman panel deliberated seven days on whether Williams would be executed or serve life in prison with no parole.
Outside the courthouse juror Clarence Kaona said he still believed Williams should die for killing his five-year-old daughter, Talia.
"At this very moment as we stand here talking to you, what do you think that Naeem Williams deserves?" a reporter asked. "Death. No doubt. No doubt in my mind," Kaona said.
"Everybody had their own decision, and we respected each other, how they voted," juror Earlanne Leslie said.
On July 16, 2005, Talia died of a head injury after being beaten in the family's military quarters at Wheeler Army Airfield. Evidence showed she was tortured for months -- starved, duct taped, and struck with a ruler, a belt, and her father's fists, often after she soiled herself. Her stepmother, Delilah, also beat her.
"I think that now Talia can rest in peace. It's been a long process. It's been many years. Justice has been served," Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Ching said.
"We're relieved that the trial is done," U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni said. "I understand that Mr. Mellin has spoken to Talia's mother (Tarshia), and she expressed the same sentiment. She is relieved that the trial is over."
Because the killing happened on a military base, Williams was tried under federal law in Hawaii's first capital murder trial.
"There were a number of efforts made by the defense to avoid the trial of this case. And we were unsuccessful," Phillipsborn said.
"Naeem Williams was found guilty and held responsible for what he did on July 16. And that's very important," Department of Justice attorney Steven Mellin said.
Naeem Williams is 34. The federal Bureau of Prisons will now determine which mainland penitentiary he'll be locked up in for the rest of his life.
Read Naeem Williams juror verdict form: http://bit.ly/1rIHngz
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