Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ohio executes cocaine dealer for killings


LUCASVILLE, Ohio -- A cocaine dealer was executed Tuesday for killing four men in a bid to seize control of the drug trade in a Youngstown housing project.

Willie Williams Jr., 48, died by injection at 10:20 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.

Saying Williams had shown no remorse for the slayings, Gov. Bob Taft on Monday refused to commute the inmate's sentence to life in prison without parole. Williams did not ask for clemency and the Ohio Parole Board unanimously recommended against it.

He was the third person to be put to death in Ohio this year and the 18th since the state resumed executions in 1999. Two other inmates are slated for execution next month.

Before Williams died, he winked and blew a kiss to his adult daughter, Jameka, and thanked her and his brother and uncle for being witnesses.

"I'm not going to waste no time talking about my lifestyle, my case, my punishment," he said. "Y'all stick together. Don't worry about me. I'm OK."

Prosecutors, police and court records depicted Williams as a strongman in the Youngstown underworld. When California released him after a five-year sentence for cocaine trafficking, Youngstown officials tried unsuccessfully to block his return by asking that state to limit his probation to the West Coast.

Williams' wanted to be like the dons of the Youngstown underworld who had battled for control of rackets as part of a feud between the Cleveland and Pittsburgh mobs, authorities say.

According to police and prosecutors, he may have killed up to 10 other people but never was charged.

He caught three of his rivals at home in September 1991, authorities said. The fourth victim was visiting two of the others. The victims were variously bound, shot and strangled, a coroner ruled.

Police arrested Williams soon after the slayings but he escaped a month later. He was recaptured three months after that when he took hostages at a juvenile lockup in what authorities said was an attempt to kill three accomplices who had cooperated with police against him.

Williams lost state court appeals in which his lawyers claimed prosecutors were able to stack the jury with people who favored the death penalty. A federal appeals court refused to overturn those rulings last year.


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