Son said he had slaying victims' bank cards, mother testifies Williams being retried in 1994 double slaying

May 14, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Scotland E. Williams, accused in a double killing, told his mother he had bank cards belonging to the victims a day or so after their bodies were discovered, the woman testified yesterday.

Rosezelma J. Williams told an Anne Arundel Circuit Court jury that her son, who was staying at her Arnold home, also said he had gotten a car from "a parking lot or something" and taken it to Baltimore.

Prosecutors are trying to show that the automated teller machine cards belonged to Jose E. Trias, 49, and Julie Noel Gilbert, 48, lawyers who were found dead May 16, 1994, in their weekend home in Winchester on the Severn.

After one of many heated debates without the jury present over what testimony would be allowed, the defendant's mother, who had been called by the prosecution, was not permitted to testify about what else she says Williams, 35, told her.

"Mrs. Williams would have testified that Scotland Williams told her that he did not kill those two people," Nancy M. Cohen, one of three defense lawyers, told Judge Pamela L. North.

Williams was convicted of first-degree murder in 1995 and sentenced to die. In 1996, the Maryland Court of Appeals reversed the conviction, ruling that Judge Eugene M. Lerner improperly allowed prejudicial evidence against Williams. State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee is seeking the death penalty again.

Clayton L. Williams, 32, the defendant's brother, made several political statements to the jury while testifying that his brother was driving a nice car when he came to Clayton Williams' house in Baltimore the night of May 15, 1994, and gave him five $20 bills.

Prosecutors have said that Scotland Williams was driving Gilbert's red Acura when he used the couple's ATM cards to withdraw $3,000 from their accounts.

Clayton Williams told jurors he had no respect for the court system, that May 13 was the 13th anniversary of the bombing of the house in Philadelphia occupied by the radical group MOVE and that he once worked for Pamela Snowhite Davis, a supporter of marijuana legalization.

Under questioning by the defense, he could not recall dates, whether he told police he would lie in court or when he moved. He said he thought he was in Dover, Del., Kent Island and Baltimore the weekend of the killings.

His wife, Tanya Williams, testified before her husband that they spent the weekend in Dover with friends.

Williams said he was testifying honestly, not out of respect for the court but because he had to post a bond to guarantee his appearance, and because "I am a good and righteous person, and I believe in doing the right thing.

"I am going to tell the truth because you guys have my $500. And I am out here on bail."

Later, he said, "I want to get my money back."

Pub Date: 5/14/98

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