Dad WESLEY JONATHAN WILLIAMS is on trial for the murder of his ex-girlfriend and her 3 sons (two of which Williams'was the biological father of--as if that makes any difference to a cold-blooded killer). Seems Dad was peeved for getting hit up for child support. Unfortunately, Florida like many states requires mothers to get child support in order to receive social services. These policies have been a disaster, with way too many mothers and children getting injured or killed by violent, resentful dads.
Testimony gets under way in murder trial
By DEBORAH BUCKHALTER, Floridan Staff Writer
Published: September 23, 2009
Defense attorney Walter Smith took aim at one of the state’s key witnesses on the first day of testimony in the quadruple murder trial of Wesley Jonathan Williams.
The last man on the stand Wednesday was Donald Allen, a self-proclaimed close friend of Williams. He told investigators in 2006 that Williams confessed to him that he’d killed Danielle Baker and her three young sons.
Baker, Williams’ ex-girlfriend, was shot to death and her three sons were suffocated. Williams fathered the two oldest boys.
Allen’s 2006 statement was dramatically different than what he’d told investigators in 2005.
In those previous statements, Allen claimed to have no knowledge of any rift between Baker and Williams. But in the 2006 statement, Allen was interviewed while incarcerated in a nearby county jail. In that interview, Allen told investigators Williams confessed to the crime and once showed him paperwork that had made Williams angry with Baker.
Allen said the paperwork was related to his tax or child support obligations.
When Allen referred in court to those investigators by their first names, Smith latched on to that, referring to the team as Allen’s “good buddies.” Smith made much of the fact that Allen is not currently behind bars, even though it appears he has allegedly committed a violation of probation in a criminal case of his own.
Smith also pointed to other inconsistencies in Allen’s statements, including the time frame of Williams’ alleged confession to him.
Allen told investigators in 2006 that Williams had once fired a .38 handgun in his presence while he was visiting Williams at his apartment in Sneads. Thinking a bullet might be found in the yard outside Williams residence, investigators did indeed search the grounds, and they found one.
Allen said in one instance, Williams had made his confession on the same day that bullet was fired in Sneads.
In another instance, Allen said the bullet was fired in Sneads before the killings occurred.
Smith wanted to know how those statements and others Allen made could be reconciled, and continued to chip away at Allen’s credibility.
Allen was the last in a string of the defendant’s acquaintances who took the stand Wednesday, but the day of testimony started with a state Department of Revenue employee who talked about Baker’s attempt to get child support from Williams.
That effort, led by the state, began in June 2003 for their older son, Ahmaad, and in May 2004 for their younger child, Amarion. It was determined Williams would be obligated to pay about $676 a month for the two children, according to Iris Barkley, a Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement division employee who supervises the Marianna office.
The state was also seeking reimbursement of about $2, 457 from Williams, public assistance Baker had received.
Mothers who receive public assistance are obligated to name the father in order to continue receiving assistance.
Barkley testified Baker was not only co-operative, but aggressively active in the effort to go forward with the child support claim.
It was revealed Wednesday Baker had initially named another man as Amarion’s father, an individual proven later to be deceased at the time the child was conceived.
A paternity test eventually proved Williams was the father of that child. His paternity of the older child was never in question.
The child support paperwork was still in process but nearing completion when Baker and the children were killed.
A former Jackson County sheriff’s deputy testified he had tried to serve Williams with a child support lawsuit in December 2004. But when he went to Williams’ last known address, Williams’ girlfriend answered the door and said he’d moved to Tallahassee.
Williams’ alleged unwillingness to pay child support is one of the central motives presented in the state’s case.
Friends and acquaintances of Baker and Williams made up the remainder of the witness list Wednesday.
Most of them were asked about events occurring in the days and hours leading up to the deaths of Baker and her sons.
Most acknowledged a dust-up between Baker and Williams shortly before her death, regarding phone calls Baker may have made that essentially revealed Williams’ alleged multiple ongoing love affairs to the women involved.
However, most of these witnesses said Williams’ anger was short-lived, and was more of a venting than anything revealing sinister intent.
The state claims Baker’s phone calls provided another motive that led Williams and unknown accomplices to kill Baker and the children.
The defense maintains that Williams had nothing to do with the murders, and that two or three unknown individuals were responsible.
In opening statements Wednesday morning, prosecutor Larry Basford told jurors the state intends to prove that Williams “and other unknown” individuals killed Danielle Baker and her three sons, because Williams was angry with her for three reasons.
Basford asserts Baker was aggressively seeking child support that Williams didn’t want to pay, and that the defendant also felt she was “messing in his (Williams) business” as it related to other women in his life. Williams also blamed her for a $5,000 tax bill he owed the IRS, Basford said.
According to Basford, in 2003 Williams claimed Baker’s daughter as a dependent and received a refund based on the information, although he was not the girl’s father.
Williams subsequently received a bill from the IRS.
In his opening argument, defense attorney Smith attacked those alleged motives. Smith pointed out that no child support order had been entered when Baker was killed.
Williams never denied being the father of the oldest boy killed, Ahmaad, who was almost four when he died. A paternity test was conducted to determine the paternity of Amarion, the one-year-old boy who was killed.
The third child killed, three-week-old Aaron, was fathered by someone other than Williams.
While the defense and prosecution did not disagree on those facts, Smith asserts Williams never believed he was the father of the third child. Basford, on the other hand, indicated in his opening statement that Williams thought he might be the father of all three and therefore believed he would face child support payments for all if they had lived.
The lawyers also disagreed on the significance and meaning of lab test results relating to DNA collected at the scene.
DNA was found in the tips of gloves attached to the duct tape used to bind the children, who were found piled in the bathtub of their dwelling at Cottondale Village Apartments in Marianna. They suffocated as the result of being bound with the tape.
Williams has been excluded as a contributor of that DNA, Smith stressed. He pointed out that his lab had been able to identify DNA markers contributed by two other unknown individuals.
Basford focused on a single hair found at the crime scene, which was consistent with Williams’ hair type.
Smith attacked that, saying it was no proof that Williams participated in the crime. First, he asserted, Williams had been to the home many times and it was logical for his hair to be found there — if in fact it was his. Secondly, Smith said, the hair markers are consistent with “13 of 1,000” African Americans’ DNA.
Alleged cell phone calls between Baker and Williams shortly before the murder are also a point of contention between the defense and prosecution.
Smith focused attention Wednesday on the fallibility of cell phone records. Basford said he planned to call an expert in communications to show how accurately the locations of cell phone calls can be traced to the towers they “ping off” when calls are made.
Basford contends calls were made from Williams’ cell phone involving a tower near Baker’s home in Marianna.
Smith contends Williams was at home in Sneads when the calls were registered and that he had nothing to do with the murders.
Testimony was set to resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.