You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Honolulu attorney to help ex-soldier decide appeal

Aug. 13, 2014 - 08:04AM   |  
  • Filed Under

HONOLULU — A Honolulu defense attorney was appointed Tuesday to help a former soldier decide whether to appeal a murder conviction in the beating death of his 5-year-old daughter.

On a provisional basis, U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright named attorney Brook Hart to work with former Hawaii-based soldier Naeem Williams on the weighty decision.

If Williams should prevail in a possible appeal and win a new trial, the federal government says it could pursue the death penalty against him again.

Williams avoided the death penalty when jurors who convicted him of murder were later unable to agree on whether he should be executed. As a result, he will be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.

The case against Williams was the first death penalty case to go to trial in the history of Hawaii’s statehood.

He testified about physical abuse he inflicted on his daughter Talia. On the day the girl died in 2005, he beat her because of toothpaste she spit on a sink and because of her bathroom accidents, he said.

Defense attorneys who represented Williams at trial asked that he receive legal help in deciding whether to appeal the conviction. The attorneys say they can’t advise him because they believe appealing could expose him to another death penalty trial.

Hart said he’s going to look into whether the government could pursue the death penalty again after jurors couldn’t agree on a sentence.

Department of Justice capital case trial attorney Steve Mellin, speaking to the court via phone from Washington, D.C., said the government would have every right to pursue the death penalty for a second time.

The judge asked Hart to provide an update by Sept. 29 and approved retaining an expert to help Williams determine if there had been any issues regarding the composition of the jury at his trial.

Williams’ sentencing, previously scheduled for October, will be rescheduled to an undetermined date.

“I’m just trying to get you the best advice you can get,” Seabright told Williams. “Ultimately you have to make this decision.”

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook