July 30, 2014: Consistent with the promise I made a year ago (to defend, for free, any MS resident, US citizen charged with a felony by use of a firearm in legitimate self-defense) I have taken on the case of Chris Williams in Yazoo City, who has been charged with murder.
My investigation has so far revealed that Chris was brutally assaulted by a much larger man in his home, sitting in his chair, a person known to him who my investigation indicates was on drugs and alcohol, and with a violent history, having asked the person to leave his property after a verbal argument outside Chris’ home.
Chris shot the guy and is charged with murder, under a $250,000 bond (which he can’t make, obviously, and will have to sit in jail until the next grand jury meets in “the Fall” (which is all county officials and the DA’s office will tell me now.)
I’ve asked for a preliminary hearing (judge to decide whether there’s probable cause that he committed a crime and to keep him under bond until the grand jury meets “sometime”).
Of course, I may not know all the facts at this time, but it appears from what I’ve heard so far that this is a legitimate case of self-defense.
August 11, 2014: Update on Chris Williams’ case in Yazoo City: Chris’s preliminary hearing (before a JP to determine if there’s “probable cause that a crime was committed” to hold him in jail–since he can’t make a $250,000 bond) will be held this Thursday.
I informed the county prosecuting attorney I wanted to call the witnesses to the shooting to show “no probable cause” (because of self-defense) and get Chris released without bond until the grand jury meets, “sometime in the Fall.”
He informed me that he will object to that, and the Judge will not permit me to do it. I will try to call these witnesses anyway, since Chris cannot make any bond that a judge would set on a murder charge (never have seen less than $50,000–which would mean $5,000 to a bondsman).
August 15, 2014: Update on Chris Williams’ murder charge in Yazoo City. Attended preliminary hearing yesterday. The prosecutor put on the witness stand the Chief Investigation Officer of the Yazoo County Sheriff’s Department.
The previous investigator had retired. This Chief Investigator did not go to the scene right after the shooting happened, and didn’t investigate anything until Chris and the other witnesses got to the Sheriff’s Dept. and took audio, video and written statements from Chris (who I doubt understood his Miranda rights) and the other witnesses.
I went to the scene, and there were 3 bullett holes in the ceiling, indicating that Chris shot from a seated position as he was being beaten in his home by the deceased who was doped up on “Xanax bars” and who had been drinking all day.
Apparently Chris also fired 3 shots at point blank range and missed, which indicates to me that he was just firing wildly as he was being beaten. The Chief Investigator admitted that the deceased had a history of violence.
The Judge (JP) refused to allow me to put on any witnesses and refused to consider self-defense. She held there was probable cause to believe a crime had been committed, but she did ask the prosecutor to consider a lesser offense (which would be manslaughter).
He refused but the Judge reduced the bond from $250,000 to $100,000. But that doesn’t matter, Chris has been in jail now for 5 weeks and since he is indigent, he can’t make any bond unless it’s very minimal.
I was also that there wouldn’t be another grand jury until maybe November, so Chris will have to sit in jail another 3 months (he’s already been in jail a month and a half) even if he’s innocent.
In my opinion, it is a violation of Chris’ due process rights to not have a grand jury consider his case as quickly as possible and, if indicted, a speedy trial and let a jury decide whether he’s guilty or innocent.