Stillwater News Press

Crime Beat

July 24, 2012

NEW: Defense attorney says jury that convicted Darrell Williams needed to know he passed a polygraph

Darrell Williams' attorney considering appeal after Oklahoma State athlete's sex crime conviction

STILLWATER, Okla. — Defense attorney Cheryl Ramsey said she is considering an appeal of Oklahoma State athlete Darrell Williams’ conviction on sex charges because the court did not allow the jury to hear polygraph results and sex offender registration instructions.

A Payne County jury Monday convicted Williams, 22, of two counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual battery stemming from a party in Stillwater in December 2010. The jury acquitted Williams of two other rape by instrumentation counts.

The two women he was accused of assaulting both detailed the attacks to jurors and identified Williams as their attacker. Williams has denied that he sexually assaulted anyone at the party.

“If the jury had known that he passed (a polygraph) or if the jury had known all the things he has to do as a sex offender they might have made a different result,” Ramsey said.

Two polygraph tests conducted by an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation polygraph examiner indicated Williams was being truthful about his innocence, Ramsey said Tuesday. She said it is also possible Williams will have to register as a sex offender for most of his life and the jury should have been instructed on the consequences of registry.

After nearly eight and a half hours of deliberation Monday, jurors came back with guilty verdicts on two rape counts and the sexual battery count.

Jurors recommended the minimum one-year sentence on each rape count and no time on the sexual battery count. By law, Williams could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison on each rape count and up to 10 years for a sexual battery conviction.

“This is devastating from the standpoint of having felony convictions and registration that go into every aspect of his future,” said Ramsey, who said she was shocked at the mixed verdict.

“I do not understand the jury’s verdict, but obviously they have rendered it and we will live with it,” the Stillwater attorney said.

Ramsey said she intends to file several post-conviction motions and will likely ask that Williams be released on an appeal bond after sentencing, which Payne County District Judge Phillip Corley set for Aug. 24.

“I don’t know what his future holds,” the attorney said of the Oklahoma State University basketball player.

Williams is three courses shy of graduating from OSU, said Ramsey, and could potentially graduate while in jail, becoming the first person in his family to hold a college degree.

Williams was suspended from the OSU men’s basketball team after he was charged in February 2011 but has retained his scholarship and has continued to participate in practices and other team activities, said head coach Travis Ford, who testified on Williams’ behalf.

The university was contacted for comment Tuesday but a representative declined, stating they are awaiting sentencing and have nothing further to say.

Williams, wrapped in a dark gray blanket and clad in an orange jumpsuit, watched through a Payne County jail intake cell window Tuesday morning as people came and went at the intake facility. Hours earlier he had been wearing a crisp cream colored shirt and textured tie.

Sheriff’s Captain Kevin Woodward said Tuesday Williams had calmed down since his conviction and had cooperated with deputies.

After the jury verdicts were read, Williams wailed in the courtroom and tearfully collapsed on the defense’s table before deputies escorted him to the jail. Woodward said Williams hugged his crying sister before being taken into the jail. Williams was not handcuffed while being taken out of the courtroom because they did not believe him to be a fight or flight risk, said Woodward.

“It’s been a very emotionally charged trial,” Woodward said.

He and other deputies had to escort several inconsolable people from the courtroom Monday night including Williams’ sister and Ford, the coach.

Deputies waited outside the courthouse to make sure there were no altercations. Ford, who had testified Williams was innocent, did not speak when asked for comment.

For now Williams will remain in the intake cell away from the jail’s general population as he adjusts to his recent conviction, said Woodward.


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