Death penalty arguments continue in the Marian Williams trial

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

The trial for Marian Williams has entered the penalty phase after a jury found Williams guilty in the arson fire that killed three young boys. The jury will now have to decide if Williams will receive the death penalty.

Tuesday marks the second day of arguments in the penalty phase of the trial. It was the defense’s turn to argue against the death penalty for Marian Williams.

On Monday the state presented evidence and impact statements in support of the death penalty.

The defense began their arguments with two younger brothers of Marian Williams.

Willie Williams, one of Marian’s younger brothers, told the court that Marian cared about the kids who were killed. He said that Marian is a loving person and had nothing bad to say about her.

Another younger brother to Marian, Eric Ludgood, told the court that Marian was a great person in his mind and used to make sure he was okay.

The defense also brought Marian Williams’ daughter, Taquita Leverett, to the stand. Marian began to cry as her daughter spoke. Leverett told the jury that Marian is a great mom and included everyone, including the three boys who were killed. “We did birthdays, Christmas, super bowls, and just on Sundays my mom would cook for everyone.”

Williams’ other daughter Miranda Washinton also spoke about Williams’ relationship with the three boys. “My mother treated them all the same. She treated them like they were her grandkids.”

Three of Marian Williams’ grandchildren were also brought before the jury by the defense. Two of whom are minors. They all spoke about Williams in a similar manner, saying that she is a loving and caring person.

The defense team rolled out several other witnesses, including Marian Williams’ father who said, “that’s my daughter and I love her. I don’t want anything to happen to her.”

Williams’ aunt, Rita Gatlin, left the courtroom in tears. But not before she talked about how Williams struggled with her husband’s death and struggled with her mental health afterward.

Her young grandchildren joined with Williams’ aunt to tell the court about what they love most about the defendant. “I know Marian is a people person. I know that Marian loved children, not just her children and grandchildren but other children in the neighborhood,” said William’s aunt Cheri Kelly.

The prosecution argued that doesn’t make sense considering she killed Marcus, Kiani and Kemaren Clark. They said because of that, Williams should die by lethal injection.

Williams’ family hopes the jury sees who Marian is for them. “To me, she’s just my sister and I love her to death,” said Marian’s brother Willie Williams.

The judge asked Marian Williams if there was anyone else she would like the court to hear from. Williams said she would like them to hear a recording from her late grandfather.

If the jury recommends the death penalty and the judge agrees, Williams will join three other women on death row in Florida. There are 302 men on death row. If they don’t recommend the death penalty, Williams is facing the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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