|Man indicted in slaying of Broncos' Williams|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 08 October 2008 22:26|
It was also a breakthrough for investigators Wednesday, who struggled for almost two years to bring charges against a suspect in what police called a frustrating and complex case, partly because of a lack of cooperation from witnesses.
Charged in the case is Willie D. Clark, 25, who faces 39 counts, including murder, attempted murder, assault, crimes of violence and a weapons violation. Clark, long considered a person of interest in the case, has been in police custody since the days after the slaying but on unrelated charges.
Clark does not yet have an attorney for the Williams indictment, said Denver district attorney's spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough. A call after hours to his attorney on a separate federal case, Alaurice Tafoya-Modi, was not immediately returned.
The shooting happened New Year's Day 2007, after an altercation at the Safari Club, a Denver nightclub. According to the indictment, Williams and Clark were at the club with separate groups of friends and the groups exchanged taunts inside. The argument continued outside the club when it closed, the indictment said, and witnesses testified that a ``large'' man from Williams' group then grabbed Clark ``about the head.''
Clark asked friends for ``a heater,'' or gun, according to the indictment. Williams and his companions took off in the limo and Clark, driving the SUV, caught up and fired, a witness said.
At least 15 shots pierced the limo and police say two weapons were used - a .45-caliber handgun and a .40-caliber gun.
``Obviously there's more than one shooter,'' Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said.
nd two other passengers were wounded but survived. Williams died in the arms of then-Broncos wide receiver Javon Walker, who was also in the limo. Walker, now with the Oakland Raiders, wasn't injured.
Police said the case isn't closed and others might be charged.
Clark was arrested on a parole violation four days after Williams was killed. He was charged with drug violations last year in an indictment that also named Brian Hicks, the registered owner of the SUV police say was used in the shooting.
Investigators have said Clark was part of Hicks' alleged drug operation. Hicks was in jail at the time of Williams' shooting.
At a news conference announcing the indictment, police expressed frustration at the ``no snitch'' culture they encountered during the investigation. A break in the case occurred Aug. 21 when Detective Michael Martinez authenticated a letter written by Clark allegedly admitting to the slaying. The letter was obtained by the Rocky Mountain News.
Police say the lack of cooperation from witnesses should leave the $100,000 reward offered by the Denver Broncos unclaimed. Police Chief Gerry Whitman, who called the case a ``very complex investigation,'' said police are still looking for people to come forward.
The indictment came down after the Broncos' practice, and long-snapper Mike Leach said it brought a sense of relief to the team.
ng time. Hopefully, they have all their ducks in a row and everything will work out the way we hope it will,'' he said.
Nick Ferguson, a safety who played for the Broncos with Williams, said he hoped authorities have the right person.
``I trust the people investigating the case did their homework and they won't drag people into court on charges that won't stick,'' said Ferguson, now with the Houston Texans. He added that ``not a moment goes by that I don't think about D-Will and his family after what happened that night.''
Ferguson and Leach said the real comfort will come with a conviction.
``It's still, 'OK, this is a good start, hopefully a conviction gets handed down and everyone else associated with it gets brought to justice, too,''' Leach said. ``There was a little relief when we heard, but now the waiting game starts again.''
Williams, a former Oklahoma State standout, was one of the NFL's rising young stars.