The Edmond Sun

July 20, 2012

Williams trial set for closing arguments Monday

By Russell Hixson
CNHI News Service

STILLWATER — Closing arguments and jury instructions are set to begin Monday after eight days in court sessions for the trial of Oklahoma State athlete Darrell Williams.

The defense rested Thursday after a flurry of witnesses including former player Keiton Page, former player Brian Williams and Darrell Williams’ mother, Alice Williams.

During the trial the defense called 11 witnesses. The state, which rested Wednesday, called nine including the two women Williams is accused of assaulting.

Williams, 22, is charged with four counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual assault stemming from a December 2010 house party.

Zack Thomason and student Emily Sadler testified Thursday that they were with Williams in a Stillwater basement when the events were said to have taken place. They said they did not see anyone sexually assaulted.

During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Jill Tontz, Thomason said he was high on marijuana and intoxicated the night of the party. Sadler also said she was intoxicated.

Page, who described himself as a close friend of Williams, said he was shocked when he heard about the charges against his teammate.

“I don’t think he’s capable of these charges,” Page said.

The former team captain said he and Williams lived in the same residence hall and often hung out together. Page said he was not at the party. Page’s father, David, also vouched for Williams’ character.

Williams’ teammate Brian Williams praised the defendant, calling him a big brother. The player said he has never seen Darrell Williams do anything inappropriate with women.

“I know it wasn’t him,” he said. “It’s not like him.”

Williams’ mother testified about raising her children as a single mother in Chicago. She said her son has never been in trouble.

“This is not my son,” she said of the charges.

Williams’ former teammate Jarred Shaw, who was to be the defense’s final witness, failed to appear when called despite being subpoenaed.

Head coach Travis Ford testified Wednesday that Shaw left the team a month after Williams was charged. Ford said Shaw wanted more playing time, despite being told in the upcoming season he would be a starting player.

During questioning by defense attorney Willie Baker, Ford said Williams, Shaw and former player Marshall Moses all have similar skin tone and build.

Witnesses have testified many of the players at the party were wearing similar OSU warmup suits, which the defense contends could have led to a misidentification.

Ford said he launched his own investigation immediately after learning of the allegations. He testified he believes Williams is innocent.

During an interview with police, Williams said Shaw, often referred to by witnesses as “Slim,” was at the party. Other witnesses testified he was there.

Student Alyssa Casares testified that while at the party, Slim’s breath smelled like alcohol punch and he was very “handsy.” She said he and other players made her group of friends feel uncomfortable.

Earlier in the trial, both victims said they identified Williams from an unlabeled team photo at the Stillwater police station. The NewsPress does not print names of victims of sex crimes.

During questioning by prosecution and defense the two women repeatedly testified Williams was their attacker. One victim, an avid OSU fan, said she was assaulted while facing Williams and immediately knew who her attacker was. Both victims said Williams stuck his hands down their pants and inserting his finger into them. They also testified he fondled their breasts.

Aleigha Marriott,  who works in OSU’s student conduct office, testified Thursday that during the school’s investigation the victims did not cooperate and did not take advantage of any of the school’s victim resources. Earlier in the trial the victims said they felt harassed by OSU and did not want the OSU investigation to interfere with the police’s investigation.

RUSSELL HIXSON writes for the Stillwater NewsPress.