STILLWATER, Okla. —
Sentencing for convicted former Oklahoma State University men’s basketball player Darrell Williams was continued until Sept. 14 following a motion for a new trial by the defense.
Williams appeared in court dressed in a white button-down shirt, slacks and brown dress shoes next to two other inmates in orange jail uniforms.
He smiled, waved and gave a thumbs up to his mother, Alice Williams, who was sitting in the front row of the gallery.
She sat beside the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
The motion for a new trial states the defense has discovered new evidence that could impeach a witness. Defense attorneys Cheryl Ramsey and Willie Baker requested sentencing be continued on Sept. 14.
State Prosecutor Jill Tontz objected, saying the motion was not promptly provided and the state was prepared to proceed with sentencing. The motion was filed shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday. Judge Phillip Corley sustained the continuance.
Jackson, who traveled to Stillwater to support Williams, said the evidence is sealed but was weighty enough for the judge to continue the sentencing. He praised the judge for his fairness.
“My son is innocent,” said Williams’ mother Alice as she walked through the courthouse hand-in-hand with Jackson.
“Today, we celebrate the best of a difficult situation,” Jackson said Friday outside one of the courtrooms in the Payne County Courthouse.
Jackson told reporters that Williams is enrolled at OSU and could graduate from school in December. OSU Communications Director Gary Shutt confirmed Williams enrolled for a classes Friday. Shutt said Williams was enrolled for a class during the summer but had unenrolled until sentencing. Shutt said Williams will meet with faculty members to complete his course requirements.
According to a pre-sentencing report, Williams had completed 88 credit hours after the spring semester. Williams remains in Payne County Jail.
State Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Forest Park, released a statement citing the Williams case as an example of Oklahoma’s “broken justice system.” Johnson’s release stated Williams’ identification was flawed and he was not judged by a jury of his peers. The victims were shown photos of the basketball team when identifying their attacker rather than using a lineup.
“The judge’s decision to grant a continuance is an acknowledgment that all is not as it appears,” the release read. The senator added that Williams is a typical case of wrongful conviction.