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Friday, May 6, 2016

Williams sentenced to 99 years for molestation

Friday, February 1, 2013

David L. Williams
Even as he sentenced a convicted child molester to what amounts to life in prison, Putnam Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley expressed his concern for the man's rehabilitation.

Headley sentenced 38-year-old David L. Williams, of Coatesville, to a 99-year sentence on Thursday, with 90 years to be executed with the Indiana Department of Correction.

"Mr. Williams, I hope the Department of Correction can help you any way they can in your criminal ways," Headley said. "I don't know if they can, but that's what they are there for."

The sentence comes on the heels of Williams' January conviction of eight Class A felony counts of child molestation, one B felony count of incest and three C felony counts of child molestation.

Having heard arguments from both the state and defense, Headley cited as most telling the fact that Williams' original confession to Indiana State Police Investigators matched almost perfectly the description of events the young female relative gave in an earlier interview.

"The descriptions were like a left hand and a right hand folding up," Headley said.

Estimates given by both Williams and the victim put the number of times the crime was committed anywhere between 96 and nearly 200.

"Probably most aggravating and most disturbing to me is the repetitive nature of this crime," Headley said.

The crimes occurred between October 2010 and January 2012, and the charges brought by the state reflected the time period, with separate sets of charges for each year of the crime.

Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter requested the sentencing also reflect this, asking for 30 years for each year the molestation occurred, all to be served consecutively.

The state also requested a 10-year sentence for incest, to be served concurrently with the other sentence.

This brought the state's total advisory sentence to 90 years, with 80 to be executed with the DOC.

Headley's final decision actually exceeded the prosecution's advice, giving Williams three 33-year sentences for the molestation convictions. The sentences are to be served consecutively, with three years suspended on each.

He also sentenced Williams to 10 years for incest, to be served concurrently with the other sentences.

Williams is also classified as a credit-restricted felon, which means he will serve at least 85 percent of the time for which he was convicted. For all but the worst crimes, the Indiana Good Time credit sets the minimum time served at 50 percent.

Even with credit for the year he has served since his Jan. 27, 2012 arrest, Williams would be at least 113 years old before he becomes eligible for parole.

Defense attorney Joel Wieneke argued against a long sentence, claiming that during their interview with Williams, ISP detectives had promised to "help" Williams, the implication being that confessing might reduce his prison time.

"For the court to give David what is undoubtedly a life sentence at this point in his life would make those statements superfluous," Wieneke said. "They should be held to their statements."

Bookwalter countered that given the nature of the charges and the evidence, there was no help that could have been given.

"There was no doubt he was going to jail," the prosecutor said.

The defense also brought several character witnesses -- Williams' aunt, cousin, mother and wife -- not only to vouch for the man's character and their doubts about the charges, but all of whom said the family would help Williams with his re-entry into society should his sentence be short enough.

Wieneke argued that Williams has no prior criminal history and the crimes were unlikely to reoccur, in that the victim would by then be an adult and that he would spend the rest of his life monitored by authorities.

However, Bookwalter argued aggravating factors included the child's age (from 6 to 8 years), Williams' position of care and the fact that he was convicted of only 12 crimes when there may have been nearly 200 instances.

"He got nine (Class A) felonies instead of 192," Bookwalter said, "so the harm to her was greater than he was charged."

The prosecutor also pointed out that Williams used force and even threatened the girl.

"He said, basically, if you tell on me, I'm going to get locked up and the family is going to be broken up," Bookwalter said.

Headley's sentence reflected similar thinking, with Williams being classified as a sexually violent predator.

Williams' legal entanglements in the matter are not over. Besides the possibility of appeal, he faces a child pornography charge that was severed from the original set of charges.

Although the prosecutor's office has not decided exactly how to proceed with the pornography charge, Bookwalter indicated it would be pursued.

Williams also faces another trial, based on his admission to investigators that some of the crimes occurred in Hendricks County. He is charged with Class A felony child molestation, Class C felony child molestation and Class B felony incest.

The Hendricks County case is set for an April 3 pre-trial conference in Hendricks Superior Court, with a jury trial to follow on April 24.