The trial against Robert Williams began on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 in the 32nd Judicial District Court with presiding judge Glen Harrison.
Williams is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity as part of the crack cocaine distribution house on 1110 Runnels which was busted by local and area authorities on October 6, 2010.
Jury selection began Tuesday morning, with the final twelve jurors being selected shortly after 2 p.m. Opening statements were heard starting around 3:30 p.m. from District Attorney Ann Reed for the state and David Thedford for the defense.
Reed noted that Williams lived in the house on Runnels; the testimony heard from the investigator on the case about drug dealing would show that Williams along with several others were selling drugs, as a confidential informant successfully purchased drugs on three different occasions leading up to October 6, 2010.
During this time, 24 hour surveillance had been set on the house, in which a video summary would show continuous come and go traffic and hand to hand transactions.
On October 5, 2010, a regular visitor to the house was followed and contacted by the investigators, who confessed to buying drugs and was willing to talk to the local law enforcement. This step allowed the authorities to apply for a search warrant which was executed on the following day with a number of law enforcement entities from around the area.
The state noted that they would also show that the residents of the house were aware and helped the house continue with the activity as the bills were being regularly paid. Everything presented by the state, Reed noted, would show the organized criminal activity.
Thedford's opening statement noted that he disagrees with the state's evidence. The evidence from the investigator, surveillance footage and several confidential informants that were used--called "snitches" by the defense--would prove to be not credible and that their information was false.
The video presented by the state would not show hand to hand transactions; additionally, Williams was not even at home when the local authorities executed the search warrant. The defense noted that others at the house probably had drugs and cocaine was found on a woman and van at the scene.
The insufficient evidence would show that Williams was not a part of the conspiracy, Thedford claimed.
Only one testimony was heard on Tuesday from Tim Blount for the state, who was the lead criminal investigator with the Nolan County Sheriff's Office on this case at the time of the incident.
Blount began his investigation through interviewing a person who was in jail at the time who later became an informant. He received some information about the house from the District Attorney's office, and then surveillance began through law enforcement driving by the residence.
The first attempted purchase was then done through the confidential informant--who was cleared to do so by a judge's approval--on August 2, 2010. Blount stated that the informant is cleared of all items from him and is given what is necessary to complete the task by law enforcement and is also wired with a recorder in order for authorities to make later observations.
After the purchase, the informant gives the purchase to law enforcement to submit into evidence. Blount informed the court that he did not go with them on this instance, but an undercover officer with the Abilene Police Department did.
According to the testimony, Blount said that the drugs were sold by Cory Alldrege and Shinece Black on the front porch of the house, which was recorded.
The state entered two pieces of evidence as Blount testified. A thirteen-minute video recording of a purchase made by law enforcement on August 2, 2010 was shown before the court, which noted that the informant paid $200 for 14 rocks believed to be crack cocaine. A photo of the crack cocaine bought from the purchase was also published to the jury.
When asked about the recording device to obtain the evidence, Blount said that the device is hidden to protect the informant. While the recorder is not a traditional piece, it is capable of obtaining all the video and audio.
Around 4:30 p.m., the court went into recess for the evening. Testimony from Blount resumed on Wednesday morning, March 28, 2012 with further testimonies continuing throughout the day.