CLEARFIELD – An attorney for a Morrisdale woman accused of killing her husband and claiming it was suicide is asking for a judge to suppress evidence against her.
In October Kimberly Sue Williams, 47, was charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person in connection to the death of her husband, Ronald Williams Jr., on March 14, 2019 at their home.
Initially she told police that Ronald Williams Jr. had shot himself in the head while her back was turned to him.
Further investigation revealed that Ronald Williams Jr., who had suffered a stroke six years prior and was bedridden, was saying he wanted to change his will, and a relative told police he commented that he thought his wife was trying to kill him.
During a hearing on Friday, Steven P. Trialonas, attorney for Williams, reviewed several motions he filed on her behalf challenging interviews with police as well as a test for gun residue on her hands.
This motion also asked for clarification on the original charge of criminal homicide.
District Attorney Ryan Sayers agreed to amend the charges to include murder of the first degree, murder of the third degree, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Testimony was then heard from the troopers involved in interviewing Williams after taking her to the state police barracks in Clearfield.
Trooper Fredrick Burns testified that he and Trooper David Patrick went back to the Williams home to speak with her on the evening of March 14, 2019.
They were in plain clothes and driving an unmarked car when they asked her to go with them to the barracks to talk about the death of her husband.
It was established through questioning by First District Attorney Leanne Nedza that she was not in custody or handcuffed and that she signed a form of non-arrest, agreeing to talk with them.
They spoke with her beginning at 11:37 p.m.
Burns testified that Williams was free to go at any time and an open door was in front of her, had she chosen to leave.
A portion of the interview was played during which Williams repeated “I would never hurt Ron -ever!” and that she was willing to take a lie detector test.
As she is crying, she states “I’m going home. I want a lawyer.”
This is the point of contention in Trialonas’ motion. He is claiming all questioning should have stopped because Williams was never read her Miranda rights.
Burns said she went out of the interview room and was told someone would take her home.
Shortly after, the video instead shows two other troopers, Randy Powell and Steve Johnson return to the interview room with her.
Her hands are tested for gun shot residue and she is asked to sign a waiver of a search warrant rights to allow investigators to examine her electronic devices including a cell phone, an i-Pad and a computer.
Although Nedza continued to indicate Williams was free to go at any time, in the footage she is incredibly distraught, crying hysterically at times and appears exhausted. She did not leave the station until approximately 1:57 a.m.
When she went home with her sister, Patrick and Burns also arrived back at the house where she voluntarily presented them with several electronic devices.
A search warrant to access the content of the devices was later obtained.
Williams also gave police a dress and gray robe that she was allegedly wearing at the time her husband died.
During his cross examination of Burns, Trialonas pointed out that Williams, who had just lost her husband of 27 years earlier that day was visibly distraught and so upset that “you can’t understand her.”
More of the interview was played during the hearing and Williams is seen slumped over, with her head in her hands and at another time lying down on a bench.
When she is in the lobby, the sounds of her sobbing can still be heard in the footage of the interview room.
She hesitates about signing the waiver of rights giving up her electronic devices because she said she had private photos on them. Still, she did sign it, according to the testimony of Burns.
In Trialonas’ motion, he makes a point that some of the devices did not belong to Williams, but to her husband and she had no authority to turn those items over to police.
Powell testified that Williams agreed to do the gun shot residue test while in the lobby and that is why he took her back to the interview room.
When Sayers asked him if either he or Johnson had threatened Williams, Powell said no.
Powell agreed during cross examination by Trialonas that he was concerned about Williams’ state of mind and had asked her if she wanted them to call a family member or friend to be with her.
In this part of the video, Williams is sobbing so much that you can’t tell what she was saying.
Powell did note that he was not more concerned for her mental state than anyone else he had dealt with in a similar investigation. However, he admitted he was concerned that she should not be going home alone that night.
The testimony of the officers agreed that she was free to go at any time, she was not being restrained, a door was open at all times, she had access to her cell phone and she did not indicate that she wanted to leave.
The last witness was Cpl. Dale Wimer of the state police crime lab in Erie, whose testimony focused on his testing of the gun used in the alleged crime.
He established that the gun stops depositing residue between 48 and 72 inches from where it was fired.
Trialonas questioned whether this would be the same for human skin and Wimer replied that he did not know that.
During the preliminary hearing in this case, Burns testified that gun shot residue was found on the sleeve of her dress while there was no gun shot residue on Ronald Williams Jr.’s hands.
In his motion, Trialonas is also challenging the ruling at the preliminary hearing saying there was not enough evidence to send the case on to the county court.
Judge Fredric J. Ammerman gave the defense 50 days to submit briefs on all the issues in their motion. After that, the commonwealth has 30 days to respond with their own brief.
Williams remains incarcerated without bail in the county jail.