January 28, 2016 7:51 PM
Attorney in Hurst child killing case says prosecutors ‘flipped a coin’ to choose defendant . Robert Williams, , is accused of beating his three-year-old daughter to death so badly he ruptured her liver in 2013.
By Mitch Mitchell
FORT WORTH — Anastasia Williams, described at her father’s capital murder trial as a happy, playful toddler, must have been killed by one of the three people who lived with her, attorneys told a Tarrant County jury on Thursday.
The jury later began deliberating whether Robert Marquis Lamar Williams, 28, of Hurst, is guilty of capital murder. If convicted, Williams will automatically be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A life sentence is what prosecutors Melinda Westmoreland and Dale Smith asked for. In her closing statement, Westmoreland told the jury that the father never cared for the child.
“She’s lying dead in her bed and what does he do? He takes the urine out of her potty and uses it to pass a drug test,” Westmoreland said.
“What do you see on her hands? Those are defensive wounds,” Westmoreland said. “This little girl who was just 3 years old knew that her father was beating her to death, but she couldn’t stop him because she was 3.”
Anastasia died March 22, 2013 from a lacerated liver, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled.
But defense attorney Bethel T. Zahaie told jurors they had another choice.
LaRue, who at one time used “Satanic Slayer” as a YouTube handle, disappeared for four days after Anastasia’s death, according to witness testimony.
LaRue testified that he performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Anastasia and knew she was dead when he left the apartment to pawn his cellphone.
The only evidence that LaRue performed CPR is his statement, Zahaie said.
Hurst doesn’t want to admit that they made a mistake and the state of Texas doesn’t want to admit that they made a mistake.”
Initially Williams told police that the last time he saw his daughter alive was 6 a.m. and later he said it was 9 a.m., Smith said.
Williams initially told Hurst Detective Jacob Eubanks that he fed Anastasia, and then said he could not remember whether he fed Anastasia or not, and then said later that he did not feed her, Smith said.
If investigators had found one ounce of evidence that LaRue is a violent man, they would have told prosecutors, Smith said.
“They treated her like a dog,” Smith said. “A dog who didn’t even get a bathroom. She had to defecate in her own room. Look how he treated her. That’s how you know that he killed her because he didn’t care.”
John Stickles, one of three attorneys representing Williams, told the jury that the state has taken all week proving that his client is not a good guy, that he was a bad parent, that he was poor and that Anastasia’s life was hell.
The trial is not about that, Stickles said.
“Seems to me what they did was flip a coin,” Stickles said. “Tails, Fred ‘Satanic Slayer’ did it. Heads Robert Williams did it. What I’m doing is turning Robert Williams’ life over to you.”
The jury was sent home Thursday afternoon and will resume deliberations Friday.