Stillwater News Press

Local News

July 9, 2012

Judge expects Williams trial to last several weeks

STILLWATER, Okla. — Jury selection for the trial of suspended Oklahoma State University basketball player Darrell Williams got under way Monday morning in Payne County District Court. Nearly every seat in the courtroom was filled with potential jurors.

Williams has pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual battery. The accusations date to a December 2010 house party.

Shortly after 9 a.m. Monday, Williams, in a tan vest, slacks, white shirt and striped tie, arrived in court with defense attorneys Cheryl Ramsey and Willie Baker.

The state read its list of possible witnesses as did the defense. Included in the defense’s list was Travis Ford, Oklahoma State University head men’s basketball coach. Assistant District Attorney Jill Tontz said three of the prosecution’s witnesses were present at the house party.

Former OSU basketball players Keiton Page and Marshall Moses were also named among those who might be called to testify in the case.

During jury selection, District Judge Phillip Corley and Tontz questioned potential jurors about possible bias, including experiences with law enforcement, courts and sexual abuse.

The role of athletes, treatment of athletes and being a fan of OSU sports were also questions by the prosecution and defense. After the first day in court, seven potential jurors had been excused, one for bias, two because of experiences with sexual abuse and four due to scheduling conflicts.

Before the trial, defense attorneys filed a motion to prevent all parties from referring to the two women as victims, which was overruled. They were called victims in court by the prosecution but later during the proceedings were referred to by their names. In the motion filed in February, the defense argued that calling them victims implies guilt to the jury.

Corley recessed at 5:10 p.m. and instructed potential jurors in the box and gallery to return Tuesday at 9 a.m. when jury selection was to continue.

Both the prosecution and defense have the right to five preemptory challenges, said Corley, meaning there could be many different people sitting in the jury box Tuesday.

Corley said he expects the trial to last several weeks.

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