Sykesville man guilty in child porn case

Jurors reject defense of mistaken identity

sentencing Aug. 7

June 02, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Sykesville man was convicted yesterday of enticing a 14-year-old boy with alcohol, marijuana and money to pose naked for digital pictures and participate sexually with him in a pornographic video.

William Russell Williams, 45, sat without expression during his third day in the Carroll County courtroom, as the jury of six men and six women rendered the verdict: Guilty as charged for sodomy, perverted practice, soliciting a minor for child pornography, filming a minor for child pornography, possession of child pornography, child abuse while in a custodial role and three counts of second-degree sexual offense.

The second-degree label means the boy, who is not being named because of his age, was under 14, and the defendant was at least four years older than the victim when the sexual offenses occurred.

Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. revoked bond and ordered Williams held at the Carroll County Detention Center until sentencing on Aug. 7.

Williams, who has blond hair, mustache and goatee, testified Wednesday that he was not the full-bearded, dark-haired man the panel saw in a 28 1/2 -minute video that police had seized in October from his apartment in Westminster, where he lived at the time.

Prosecutor Tracey A. Gilmore, deputy state's attorney for Carroll County, and Fred S. Hecker, Williams' lawyer, predicted in closing arguments that the verdict would hinge on whether the jurors believed Williams was the man in the video.

Gilmore provided a photograph of Williams at the time of his arrest on Oct. 27, arguing that the hair and full beard in his photograph were identical to the man's in the video.

"The boy, the boy's mother and Lt. Wayne Mann of the Westminster Police Department have told you it's him, and it is him," Gilmore said, pointing at Williams.

Hecker disagreed, arguing that several witnesses including his client's mother, said the man in the video was not Williams. He said Williams only had dark hair and full beard for a brief time, in late September or early October, because he wanted to dress as a werewolf for Halloween.

The time frame - when the video was made - was critical because the boy testified the offenses and filming occurred before his 14th birthday in September.

A second-degree sexual offense with someone under 14 carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Charges for third-degree sexual offenses were dismissed because the boy had testified the offenses occurred before his 14th birthday.

Gilmore, who has prosecuted dozens of cases involving child abuse and sexual assaults, called this case "one of the bad ones."

"It's a prosecutor's dream to have the crime captured on video, but in this case, watching the video makes the crime all the more heinous," she said. "This was even worse because [the boy] said he looked up to the defendant `like a father.'"

While the trial focused on 28 1/2 minutes in the lives of two people, the defendant's abuse began when [the boy] was 12 and continued for almost two years, Gilmore noted.

The prosecutor declined to specify the length of incarceration she would seek at sentencing.

"I'll be asking for a significant amount of prison time," she said.

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