Murder trial could be Hawaii's first death penalty case

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Jan 28 2014 08:15:00 PM HST

Nearly 10 years after it happened, the beating death of a child is bringing back what would be A first for Hawaii since before statehood: The Death Penalty. Jury selection is now underway in Federal Court for the trial of Army Specialist Naeem Williams.

HONOLULU -

Jury selection is underway in the trial of Army Spc. Naeem Williams, accused in the beating death of his child.

Click here to watch Lara Yamada's story.

Investigators said 5-year-old Talia Williams' father, a Schofield Barracks soldier based in Hawaii, beat his daughter to death in 2005.

Documents show the beatings had lasted for several months. Prosecutors said Talia had repeatedly been blindfolded, gagged, and taped to a bed post for hour-long whippings.

Her final beating, they said, was for spitting toothpaste into a sink.

The FBI says Talia's stepmother, Delilah Williams, was just as cruel, telling agents shortly before the girl died that she "was stomping on Talia," saying she hated her, she was stupid and that Talia ruined her life.

In July 2005, Talia died from blunt-force head trauma. Williams was charged with murder.

Hawaii does not have its own death penalty law, but he could be sentenced under the the federal death penalty.

It would be the first time a death penalty case that has gone to trial in Hawaii.

In 2010, a federal judge also cleared the way for Talia's birth mother to sue the Army over the little girl's death.

The Army has argued it could not be sued even if it made mistakes.

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