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Update: Williams was sentenced to life in prison with a $10,000 fine, the maximum sentence he was faced with during the trial. Come back for the full story.
As day four of the trial against Robert Williams continued on Friday, March 30, 2012, a witness was called to the stand for the defense, one of Williams' former employers. Williams only spoke outside of the jury's presence and closing arguments began afterwards.
The jury came back around 12:45 p.m. and found Williams guilty. The punishment phase began around 2:15 p.m. and closing arguments began.
Day three of the Robert Williams trial on Thursday, March 29, 2012 allowed for jurors to hear a number of testimonies from the state before they rested their case in the late afternoon.
The trial is taking place at the Nolan County Courthouse in the 32nd Judicial District Court. Williams is on trial from a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity, as he was part of the crack cocaine distribution house on 1110 Runnels in Sweetwater that was busted on October 6, 2010 by area law enforcement.
Tim Blount, formerly with the Nolan County Sheriff's Office (NCSO) as the lead criminal investigator of the case, was cross-examined by defense attorney David Thedford to start off today's testimonies.
Thedford asked if Blount had taken down notes of how many people going back and forth from the house, in which he said no. Marcus Caballero, the man used for the controlled purchases, Blount said, was suggested to cooperate with law enforcement because he was at the time incarcerated.
Caballero's criminal background had been checked and Blount was aware of the offenses, in which the defense broke down the activity noted. They also noted that though he helped with the case, Caballero ended up in jail.
Blount told the defense that he found Caballero as credible in that nine years had passed since his criminal offense. Caballero, said Blount, never gave incorrect information and was always searched before and after.
The money used for the controlled buys was also not tracked, noted the defense. When asked if the money found in Williams' wallet was indeed the money from the buys, Blount said he did not know.
Blount noted that during each of the buys, he was responsible for the recordings and was within at least a block away from the residence. At least ten officers total were also monitoring the situation.
On the first video, no faces were shown but voices were heard and identified. Blount said there were four voices--Cory Alldrege, Shinece Black, Caballero and the defendant.
He also identified with the layout of the house that the first buy took place on the porch; also pointed out was where the people were located and to which direction they were facing.
During the first buy, Blount had been informed that Black already had the drugs to sell but that Alldrege went to a Suburban to retrieve the drugs. A pair of blue shorts on the footage has been once noted as being Williams, but at another time was acknowledged as being Johnny Williams.
Williams was heard by Blount as asking "Who are you getting dope for?", but the defense pointed that the question didn't mean that he had any on him or that he was helping or encouraging the sale. No prints were found of Williams on the first package.
The defendant was one of several people living in the house, which included a minor. However, the number of people staying there varied from time to time, and Williams was not the owner of the home. All the adults living at the home were later charged with engaging in organized crime following the October 2010 bust.
The defense noted that Blount and his team never tracked down the money or came across any bank records, nor was any drug writings or documents found that were in Williams' writing or possession. The trash also was not searched. The only paraphernalia found was a razor, which ended up testing positive for cocaine.
During the August 23, 2010 buy, Blount pointed out that Williams was seen, but the defense said that it appeared as if he was leaving before the transaction occurred. The video, said the defense, never indicated that the defendant was present at that time.
After the buy, Caballero is heard saying that he bought the drugs from Williams, which Thedford said was false. Blount, however, said that two transactions took place, which meant that Williams could have possibly come back.
But, the defense noted that nothing pointed to prove that Williams helped or assisted in the transaction. Even though Blount pointed out hearing Williams say "You can't coach my money" to Caballero, he is not seen and his prints were not found on the package.
The final purchase on September 20, 2010 noted that Caballero bought the drugs from Jerry Washington. The defense also asked about the surveillance set up on the house, in which it was set up almost 250 feet away.
On October 5, 2010, Blount recalled he and another investigator following a man named Eddie Presley from Williams' home after making a drug purchase and making contact with him. The drugs were hidden in Presley's hat but were later given to authorities.
Presley agreed to talk with the investigators, in which the information gave them the chance to obtain a search warrant the following day. The same officers were utilized for this bust, with the addition of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers.
The plan was to go to the house around 9 a.m. but Williams had left at least twice. The team was informed of Williams' arrival back to the house, in which they wanted to make sure that he and the other residents were home before executing the search warrant.
Williams was reported as being on the porch when authorities arrived along with six other people and two inside the house.
Blount said that the green minivan on the premises was searched but not by him. Photos were shown of the sock found in the console, but it wasn't noted if it belonged to Williams.
Also, no prints were taken on the package that was found with cocaine on the recliner on the porch. The razor that was found in the house tested positive for cocaine, but nothing proved who it belonged to or had used it.
Marijuana was also found in two places--in the living room and the bedroom of Clif Worsham, both pointed by the defense as being in places not noticeable.
None of these items suggested that they belonged to Williams, along with the tubes that were found.
In the three and a half video summary of the surveillance, the defense noted that, on average, six people would visit the house daily. When asked if the number of visitors was abnormal, Blount said yes and that it painted a picture of drug dealing; hand to hand activity was also pointed out by Blount.
Williams is acknowledged as being seen on the long video in some occasions, but his whereabouts are unknown when he is not on the screen.
A picture of shoes that was taken in Williams' bedroom was also discussed, in that three different shoe sizes were found, questioning the ownership. Jewelry like watches and cross necklaces were also found but its value was unknown.
District Attorney Ann Reed once again questioned Blount, in that the first purchase identified Williams by the voice and clothing from the video. When he was questioned by the authorities, Presley had told Blount that he bought the drugs from Williams.
On the second buy footage, Williams is seen; in the long video summary--though the night footage was edited for lighting reasons, the same traffic is seen in both the day and evening.
The shoes in the photos were a variety of athletic shoes, which didn't appear as inexpensive. A number of caps were found, which were mainly of baseball teams, and Blount pointed that those type of caps were also costly.
Williams' wallet full of cash was discussed, in which it was noted that some funds had been stolen later from him totaling nearly $1500.
Thedford completed his questioning of Blount by pointing out that Williams has tattoos on his leg and that it was not clear if the man from the first film had tattoos.
Houseshoes are seen being worn by the man identified as Williams, but were never found or photographed in his bedroom. Narcotics were not found on Williams on October 6, 2010 or any other drug paraphernalia.
No video evidence pointed to Williams of making drug sales on the day of the bust and a breakdown of leadership was not found along with bank records. The defense pointed that some people do not use banks, thus carrying a lot of cash on their person.
After the lunch recess, Agent Susan Belver with the Abilene Police Department testified for the state. She was asked to assist with the local investigation, in which she drove the informant to the house where the goal was for the informant to introduce her to the dealers.
Belver noted that on three occasions she assisted and was with the same informant on each buy. Steps were taken to ensure that the controlled purchase occurred and the same car was used each time.
She said that she was unable to go inside the residence with the informant because the opportunity never presented itself and that the people inside were very cautious as to who could come in from the outside.
The informant was in her view on the first buy on August 2, 2010 as he was on the porch, and she was told of what occurred. Belver also made sure that all the drugs purchased by the informant were for law enforcement purposes.
On the August 23, 2010 purchase, she testified that she saw the informant enter the house and that normal protocol--searching the informant before and after the buy--was followed.
During the third purchase on September 20, she noted that the transaction occurred in the house and was never able to meet the occupants of the house.
When questioned by the defense, Belver said she didn't know the informant prior to accompanying him on the purchases and reiterated the failed attempt of meeting the people inside the house.
She said that the people didn't want strangers coming into the house, but didn't know exactly who made the claim. The informant showed the drugs bought from the controlled buy, but she never received them.
Marcus Caballero, the informant used by the NCSO, was the third witness for the state and said that he knew Williams and others in the house. He was approached by the NCSO to help with the investigation, recalling that their partnership lasted no more than a month to make buys at 1110 Runnels.
The process used to prepare for the buys was for Caballero to be placed with the hidden recorder and patted down, with his safety being the top priority. Belver joined him on the purchases, but never entered the premises.
On the first buy, he said he bought the drugs from either Cory Alldrege or Shinece Black. Reed replayed the film of the first purchase, in which Caballero acknowledged hearing Alldrege's and Black's voice. Williams' voice was also heard but Caballero said he was never seen on tape.
However, the blue shorts with white trim that were seen were worn by Jerry Dewitt Washington. After the purchase, Caballero and Belver drove back to their meeting location, where he gave the drugs to Blount and was searched again.
Caballero also noted that the same procedures were followed before and after each controlled purchase and that he was accompanied by the same officer each time.
When the second buy footage was shown, he pointed out Clif Worsham and Alldrege and noted that Jerome Williams and the defendant were talking about selling the drugs. Both Jerome and Robert were shown on the video.
The defendant asked Caballero about who had accompanied him, later asking to see the money for the buy. When shown the photo of the house layout, Caballero said the second buy occurred in bedroom number four.
He did also note that, while working as an informant for the county, he made other buys as well.
Caballero pointed out that he tried to get Belver into the house on the third trip to the house, but wasn't able to do so. Williams was seen in the house, and the voice of Washington--in which Caballero bought the drugs from--was heard.
Thedford also questioned the informant, noting that if Caballero helped the county, that he would be able to get out of jail for an offense of writing around $3000 of hot checks to three area convenience stores. A robbery offense was also brought up.
He went as the confidential informant three times with the county but said that he went other times in other places before going to the house on Runnels. With the county, however, he was expected to make the buys but was never told to go specifically with the defendant.
Caballero told the defense that he knew the dealers and recounted each buy. On the first purchase which occurred on the porch, Williams is not seen but recognized by voice which was heard from behind him on the tape.
The second purchase, Caballero recalled, showed the conversation between Jerome and Robert on who was going to make the sale. An arm shown in the film was Caballero's and he also pointed that Jerome had dropped some crack cocaine, but an amount much greater than what he purchased.
When the defendant was shown moving out of the camera's view, Caballero said that Williams had moved to another part of the room. Williams had drugs with him but it was not shown on the film.
The third film, the defense noted, showed a quarrel between Caballero and Washington. When asked if the two had been together in reference to a homosexual relationship, Caballero answered no as that was not his preference.
Reed briefly questioned Caballero about the arm shown in the mirror, which was Caballero's, and about another arm shown, which was Williams'.
Next to testify for the state was Eddie Presley, the man who was stopped by Blount and another investigator on October 5, 2010 upon pulling into his driveway where he lived.
The investigators told Presley they were aware of his purchase, in which he gave the two rocks of crack cocaine from his hat to them. He said that he bought the drugs from Williams' house, which the location was verified through an evidence photo of the home.
Presley testified that it was not his first time to buy drugs from the house in the living room. In this instance, he quickly came inside, exchanged $40 for the drugs and left to his house.
He gave a statement to the officers about what had occurred, and Presley noted that he did not get his drugs back and was not charged with possession.
In cross-examination, Presley said he used drugs for a number of years, buying them throughout the county and sometimes using them to deal with depression from the death of his mother. He typically kept the drugs in his cap and had made another buy from the house prior to being questioned by Blount.
He said he had been questioned by the authorities because they were aware of what had taken place. The defense said that Presley was looking for someone to blame and put it on Williams, to which Presley said no.
In addition, the defense said that while Presley didn't get anything back for helping with the case, he was able to avoid a felony trial due to his testimony. They also brought up a previous offense of theft by check.
Reed questioned Presley again, showing him an evidence photo of 11 cocaine rocks. Presley said he only bought two when he was stopped by Blount, but would never typically buy such a high amount as depicted. He never benefitted from the activity in the house, but was putting his money there.
Following Presley was Crystal Parker for the state, who noted that she knew Williams because she had dated his cousin Mark Williams for almost a year and they were living together. She would visit the defendant's house regularly at the start of her relationship with Mark, but gradually pulled away from attending the house toward the end of the relationship.
When shown the photo, she recognized the house and recalled five other people who lived with Williams--Jerome Williams, Clif Worsham, Shinece Black, Jamesha Smith and a minor. Jerome, Shinece and the minor are related to Williams as being the defendant's brother in law, daughter and nephew, respectively.
Parker testified that she was aware that drugs were in the home and that transactions occurred several times through different dealers. She wasn't aware of how the drugs got to the house, but recalled that sometimes a big bulk of drugs would be split among the sellers; sometimes drugs would be bought individually.
All the residents, except Smith, sold them and non-residents would also sell the drugs--including Parker herself and Mark Williams. Parker said that one time, she saw the defendant with a larger quantity and not divide it.
When asked about the employment of the residents, Parker noted that she knew Black and Smith worked at Taco Bell. Williams, however, briefly worked at Jack in the Box and also thought he once worked with Johnny Williams at the MHMR rest home.
She also said that Worsham got Social Security and disability checks, but that he along with Johnny, Black and Smith would go in together to pay the house bills. Parker said that she considered the defendant as the head of the household because he would make sure that the bills were paid.
Parker's criminal history was brought up, notably an arrest for possession, and the state noted that the case is pending. The defense also questioned Parker about her criminal history, but noted that she was never charged with delivery of cocaine. She said that while she never was caught with cocaine, she believed she sold some to an undercover officer.
Her jail time was only one day and a year later, she was contacted by the District Attorney's office to help with this case. While her current charge could put her in prison, defense attorney Thedford questioned her credibility. Parker said, that only in her past, her credibility could be considered as weak.
Parker believed that her testimony could help her not to go to prison, but she was unsure of the final result.
Her relationship with Mark Williams was recalled by the defense, and while her relationship with him was coming to an end in October 2010, she could not say what kind of activity was going on at the time and was thus unaware of what the defendant was involved in. Parker acknowledged that while she did possess and even sell some crack cocaine, she never used it but also saw others selling.
The defense recalled Parker's statement of referring to Williams as the "head of household", in which she described the duty as one who pays bills and is responsible for activity in the house whether fully aware or not. But, the defense noted that Williams' name was not on some of the bills though he assisted in paying the landlord, sharing the household responsibilities and ensuring that everyone was doing their part at the house.
Parker also pointed out to the state of where the bedrooms of the residents were, noting that in a video statement that female friends of Williams would buy him clothes and shoes like Nike athletic tennis shoes. She knew he had jewelry, but wasn't aware of how he obtained them.
The final testimony from the state was from William Chandley, a chemist with the Texas DPS (Department of Public Safety) Crime Lab in Abilene whose job is to analyze drugs that are submitted by law enforcement agencies in 38 counties and identifies unknown substances. He analyzed six different items for this case--three from the controlled purchases and three found when the house was busted.
From the first purchase, Chandley determined that it was 1.38 grams of cocaine. The second substance was analyzed and determined to be .88 grams of cocaine, and the third item was determined as being .55 grams of cocaine.
A package that included three other items was analyzed by Chandley. The first was recognized as a cigar holder which held crack cocaine inside, as well as another cigar holder which was determined to have 2.28 grams of cocaine. The final item was determined as being 1.98 grams of cocaine.
Around 4:15 on Thursday afternoon, the state rested their case and the court was called into recess for the day by presiding judge Glen Harrison. The defense began their line of witnesses on Friday morning, March 30, 2012 starting at 8:45 a.m.