Howard jury convicts Suitland man in killing of city woman

Body of crossing guard was found in a freezer

April 27, 2005|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

A Howard County Circuit Court jury convicted Anthony T. Williams last night of second-degree murder in the killing last year of a Northeast Baltimore woman whose body was stuffed into a freezer.

Williams, 33, of Suitland, was charged along with his girlfriend in the death of Tamaria Hughes, 36, a Baltimore schools crossing guard. Her body was found in a freezer on a pickup truck occupied by Williams and his girlfriend, Kathy L. Gray, 41, whose murder trial is set for May 2.

The jury found Williams not guilty of first-degree murder and murder conspiracy, while convicting him on the lesser count along with first- and second-degree assault.

"We're a little disappointed that he didn't get the first-degree" conviction, said Beatrice Brown, sister of the victim. "But we're satisfied he was found guilty."

During Williams' two-week trial before Judge Dennis M. Sweeney, prosecutors presented testimony that the pair beat and strangled Hughes after she came to Gray's Ellicott City townhouse in the 3200 block of Corporate Drive early on March 4 last year to engage in a sexual encounter with them.

Williams, of Suitland in Prince George's County, testified in his defense that Gray wanted to fulfill a sexual fantasy and asked one of her friends to set the couple up with another woman.

Williams - who said he has used crack cocaine since age 18 - testified that he had been on a drug binge and was so high that he could not engage in sex with Hughes.

He said he was in the bathroom smoking crack when he heard "scuffling" in the master bedroom, stepped out and saw his girlfriend choke Hughes and then strike her in the head with a nightstick.

Williams said that though he did not kill Hughes, he did try to help dispose of the body. He and Gray were arrested March 6 after police stopped a pickup truck in which they were riding - a vehicle carrying the freezer with Hughes' icy body in it.

The driver of the pickup was a man who, according to charging documents, Williams and Gray recruited to help dispose of the corpse. The man, who did not testify, informed police about the situation and agreed to help them, the documents state.

In closing arguments yesterday, prosecutor Lisa Broten pointed to a letter that Williams wrote to Gray in jail that she said proved his guilt. He wrote that he had strangled Hughes, and that Gray had hit her with the nightstick.

Williams had testified that he wrote the letter, and others, to Gray out of his concern that she would kill herself.

Williams' attorney, George Psoras Jr., contended that the letters were "rambling," written by a stressed man, and that the jury could not convict him based on one sentence in a letter.

"He told you the truth," Psoras told the jury.

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