State executes cocaine dealer who killed four in power struggle - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

State executes cocaine dealer who killed four in power struggle

LUCASVILLE, Ohio - A cocaine dealer whose role models were mobsters in a city once called the nation's crime capital 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.

He earned notoriety at a time of rising street violence in the former steel city, with the prosecutor describing his as "a big fish" in the Youngstown's drug-dealing scene.

Before he died, he winked and blew a kiss to his adult daughter, Jameka, and thanked her and his brother and uncle, who also were 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. This all ain't nothin'."

When California released him after a five-year sentence for cocaine trafficking, Youngstown officials tried to block his return by asking that his probation be limited to the West Coast.

But the city couldn't ban him, and he once walked into police headquarters, pronounced himself reformed and asked for information on drug rivals, getting none.

Williams used trusted associates to gather his top rivals at a home in the housing project in 1991, including suspected drug dealers William Dent, 23, Alfonda Madison, 21, and Eric Howard, 20. The fourth victim, 23-year-old Theodore Wynn of nearby Coitsville, had recently been discharged from the Air Force and was visiting Madison and Howard.

The victims were variously bound, shot and strangled, the coroner ruled.

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 more inmates are slated for execution next month.

The evidence against Williams included the eyewitness testimony of three accomplices who pleaded guilty. In addition, when Williams was arrested shortly after the deaths a test showed he had recently used a gun.

Williams escaped soon after his arrest and three months later broke into a juvenile detention center, taking hostages before surrendering with no one hurt. Police think he wanted to kill his three cohorts for testifying against him.

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.

The city is the hometown of former U.S. Rep. Jim Traficant, who is serving an eight-year sentence for accepting bribes and gifts from businessmen in exchange for intervening with government agencies.

According to police and prosecutors, Williams may have killed up to 10 other people in his career but never was charged. Williams typically would insist that his buddies also shoot a victim to make sure they were equally responsible, they said.

Youngstown police detective William Blanchard said Williams' short stature -- about 5 feet, 6 inches -- made him aspire to seem bigger.

Williams' defense attorney, J. Gerald Ingram, said Williams didn't get a fair trial because the judge didn't adequately respond to allegations that some jurors heard rumors about the case, which was moved from Mahoning County to Summit County. Williams was convicted of aggravated murder, kidnapping and aggravated burglary.

Williams claimed there was insufficient evidence to convict him and said prosecution witnesses were inconsistent and biased.

He lost appeals in which his lawyers claimed prosecutors were able to stack the jury with people who favored the death penalty.

On Tuesday, Williams cooperated with prison staff, at one point lifting his sleeve to help when medical personnel had trouble finding one of his veins.

Family members of the victims said they interpreted Williams' final statement and his lack of an apology as an insult.

"It was almost like his last taunt on the way out," said Alicia Ennis, 33, who was William Dent's fiancee and was five months pregnant with his daughter when he was murdered.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

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