The trial for Marian Williams who is accused of the homicide of three children entered its second day on Tuesday.
It began with the state asking for permission to allow the three boy’s mother, Kenya Lindsay, to sit in in the trial. The defense objected because she appeared as a witness on Monday, but the judge allowed her to sit in on the proceedings.
Testimony was heard from Theresa Redding, the girlfriend of the boys’ grandfather Arnold Mele, who was in the home at the time of the fire. And it was emotional and intense testimony from her.
The state showed a layout of the house and the room where Theresa Redding and the boy’s grandfather were sleeping that night of the fire, along with where the three little boys were sleeping. Redding said she woke up to the smell of smoke. She said she escaped by pulling out an air conditioning unit from a bedroom window. When she got outside she heard one of the boys calling for help. “I heard dooda call for his granddad twice. “Granddad, granddad. After that, I didn’t hear no more.”
Redding told the court that once she was outside she tried to open the window to the boys’ room but couldn’t because it had been nailed shut. Redding said that the windows and some of the doors had been nailed shut and boarded up after an incident where she said Williams entered the home at night and attacked Arnold Mele.
There was a completely different tone when the defense questioned Redding. Marian Williams’ attorney tried to convince the jury that Redding was jealous of Williams and the boys’ grandfather’s past relationship with her. The defense even went as far as claiming Redding set the fire to frame Williams.
In response, Redding said, “you not going to make me think, you’re not going to put words in my mouth. It’s always been this girl right here. Don’t start that. Don’t start it baby. You need to stop with that. I aint never step to you. You don’t know nothing.”
Redding stood up and began to yell while at the stand which prompted the judge to remove the jury and take a break before allowing Redding’s testimony to continue.
The boys’ grandfather Arnold Mele took the stand next. He had an interpreter translating into Creole for him. Mele testified through the translator that he had previously been in an on-and-off relationship with Marian Williams. He says that Willimas lived in the house with him for a year and knew the boys who were killed.
Mele told the court that on March 10th, Williams came into the house through a broken window and grabbed him by the neck. He said Redding called the police.
Through his translator, Mele said that Williams spoke about killing the family. He said no one told him that she had been released by police after the attack on the morning of March 10th and that the next night was when the fire was started. Mele said that Williams called on the afternoon before the fire and threatened him.
Arnold Mele said that on the night of the fire he could hear one of his grandkids calling out for help and tried to find them before jumping out of a window with burns on his arms and legs.
During cross-examination, Mele said that no one burned candles around the house and that the kids didn’t have access to a lighter that was in Theresa Redding’s purse in his bedroom. He also told the court that the kids never played with matches or lighters.
The defense brought up charges that Mele is facing for selling cocaine within 1,000 feet of a childcare center, claiming Mele is currently in jail. The state clarified that Mele is not in jail, but is facing charges for that crime.
An interview with Marian Williams from the day after the fire was shown to the jury. In it, Williams denied being at the house at the time of the fire and said, “I didn’t go to… I seen him last night when I passed by the house. I didn’t talk to him, I didn’t see him no more. I ain’t been to his house. I did not go to that house period. Period. last night.”
Assistant Marshall Gary Evans was the one who interviewed Williams. He took the stand and told the court that he went to the home of Williams following an interview with Bruce Blanden. He says Williams was calm during the interview.
In the interview that was shown to the jury, Williams said that she went to a fish fry on the day of the fire, then went home and stayed there. Assistant Marshall Evans said that Williams did change her statements about that night several times.
Prosecutors brought Richard Lee Epps Jr. to the stand next. Epps Jr. told them that he saw Williams at a party at his house between 10 and 11 p.m on the night of the fire. He said he then saw Williams again at 1:30 a.m.
The defense countered his story in cross-examination saying Epps Jr.’s original statement did not mention the additional information about seeing Williams at 1:30 a.m.
The day ended with the state bringing two more members of law enforcement to the stand to help confirm the timelines and testimony of previous witnesses.
You can find a summary of the first day of the trial by clicking here.