Prosecution says killer kept to-do list Attorney says murder of 2 lawyers was included on paper

'He had specific goals'

His lawyers to enter report of Williams' family history today

August 12, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Convicted killer Scotland E. Williams kept what Anne Arundel County prosecutors maintain was a checklist of things to do that includes the double-murder for which he could be sentenced to die.

The list, presented yesterday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court near the end of the prosecution's push for the death penalty, included references to an unspecified "hit," to moving, to obtaining money, among other things. Williams, 35, convicted in May of the 1994 murders of two prominent Washington lawyers in their posh weekend home near Annapolis, could be sentenced to life in prison or death.

"This is a methodical, planned-out crime," said Anne Colt Leitess, assistant state's attorney. "He had specific goals."

Leitess argued in Judge Pamela L. North's court that the list, found in Williams' briefcase within days of the crime, shows he needed about $12,000. That is nearly the exact amount he could have obtained using the victims' bank cards from the May 14, 1994, crime through the date on a note, allegedly written by Williams, found on the door of the victims' home that said they would return from vacation May 20.

Leitess said the list was found in Williams' briefcase at his mother's home in Arnold within days of the crime. Williams, she said, was broke, unemployed, living in his mother's sewing room and had been released from jail in March 1994 after awaiting trial on a burglary charge.

The list, she said, points to him plotting a crime. That is the heart of a hotly contested issue in what is expected to be a weeklong sentencing hearing -- whether the state can show that Williams is the one who shot Jose E. Trias and his wife, Julie N. Gilbert, in the head. Only the killer, not an accomplice, can be sentenced to die. No evidence so far implicated anyone else in the slayings, prosecutors said, though the defense disagrees.

On the same paper was a second list. It appeared to be an exercise routine. The defense downplayed the importance of the lists.

"It's nothing," said Nancy M. Cohen, assistant public defender.

She said that assuming the list was Williams', there is nothing tying it to the crime. She said it does not refer to the weekend home of the lawyers, and it could be construed to mean other things.

This is the second time Williams is being sentenced for the killing. He was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to die, but a year later the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned the convictions.

A private investigator for the defense testified yesterday that a Baltimore police informant identified another person, not Williams, as having Gilbert's car a few days after the crime. Investigator Andrew Davis said informant John Baxter told him Antron Harrison, a man he saw kill someone in Baltimore, was alone in the car.

Baxter had agreed to be a defense witness for Williams in May, but then changed his mind. Davis said Baxter ran from him when he went to pick him up at home to take him to court.

Leitess tried to cast doubt on Baxter's reliability, saying that he was a felon who gave Baltimore police other information that was false.

Today, the defense will try to enter its report on Williams' dysfunctional family history as evidence. Prosecutors have objected.

Pub Date: 8/12/98

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