A former U.S. Army soldier, found guilty in the 2005 beating death of his 5-year-old daughter, was sentenced to life in prison Friday “by a Honolulu jury in Hawaii’s first such capital case since it became a state in 1959,” the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper reported.
The decision came after jurors told U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright that they were unable to agree on the death penalty after seven days of deliberations, the report says.The deadlock left life in prison without parole as the only sentencing option, the report says. Williams will be formally sentenced on a different date.
Jurors sent the judge a note Thursday saying they had reached a decision, but wanted to delay its reading until Friday, the Star-Advertiser reports. The decision was read at a 9 a.m. hearing, the report says.
The decision ended months of hard work for the jurors, who found Williams, 34, guilty on April 24 of two capital offenses, the report says. “One is for killing Talia in their military family quarters at Wheeler Army Airfield on July 16, 2005, through child abuse. The other is for killing her after torturing her for months,” the report says.
The child’s stepmother, Delilah Williams, who pleaded guilty to her role in the death in exchange for a 20-year sentence, testified against her husband during the trial, the Associated Press reports. She provided graphic detail about abuse they both inflicted, including whipping the child with a belt while she was duct-taped to a bedpost, the report says. Seabright ruled that Delilah would be sentenced after jurors in Naeem Williams’ trial were dismissed, the report says.
Read more at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper reported.