A 25-year-old New York man was found guilty today of fatally shooting a
Waterbury police officer in the head after checking to see if he was
wearing a bulletproof vest.
A three-judge panel returned the verdict finding
Richard Reynolds guilty of murder and capital felony in the December
1992 death of the Waterbury police officer, Walter T. Williams.
Mr. Reynolds could face the electric chair or life
imprisonment without parole. State's Attorney John Connelly said he
would seek the death penalty.
Mr. Reynolds, dressed in a gray suit, showed no
visible reaction when the verdict was rendered. He was led away by
"I'm very pleased that it went in our favor," Mr.
Williams's widow, Jeannine, said outside the courtroom. "I hope he gets
what he deserves -- the ultimate punishment for the ultimate sacrifice.
He took my husband's life, and one day I hope he has to feel the same
way. It's been a very tough two years."
Judges Roland D. Fasano, Thomas G. West and Christine
E. Keller of Superior Court deliberated more than three hours Tuesday
and roughly two hours Wednesday before announcing the verdict.
2 Held in Killing of Waterbury Officer on Patrol
The New York Times
Saturday, December 19,
A Waterbury police
officer died this evening about 15 hours after he was shot in the head
while on routine patrol in a drug-plagued neighborhood. The police
arrested two men, and said one of them had shot the officer after the
two had been stopped for questioning.
The officer, Walter Williams, 34, an eight-year
veteran of the force, was discovered lying in the street by a
neighborhood resident about 4 A.M. in the city's north end, near the
intersection of Ward and Orange Streets. He had been shot once behind
the left ear. His gun was still in its holster.
Officer Williams, whose wife is eight months pregnant
with their third child, underwent surgery at St. Mary's Hospital. He
died at 7 P.M. without regaining consciousness, the police said.
This afternoon, the Waterbury police arrested two
suspects -- Richard Reynolds, 24, a former Brooklyn resident now living
in Waterbury, and Anthony Crawford of Waterbury -- at a home near the
shooting site. The police said witnesses saw two men run into the house
after the shooting. Possibly Carrying Drugs
The police said Mr. Reynolds was wanted in New York
on drug charges. They suspect he was carrying drugs when Officer
Williams stopped him. Mr. Crawford, whose age was not available, had
been on supervised home release since September after serving a robbery
sentence, they said.
"Both suspects gave statements to police implicating
themselves and implicating Reynolds as the shooter," said Waterbury
State's Attorney, John Connelly. The police said they seized a .380-caliber
pistol in the house where the men were arrested.
Mr. Connelly and Police Inspector John Griffin said
at a news conference that Officer Williams stopped the suspects while
they were walking on the street about 4 A.M.
They said Mr. Reynolds apparently had a pistol in his
right pocket, and refused Officer Williams's request to remove his hands
from his pockets. When the officer, who was not wearing a bulletproof
vest, tried to grab the suspect's hands, he was shot.
"He was intending to kill the cop," Inspector Griffin
said. "There's no question about that. Our information is he bumped into
the officer deliberately to determine if the officer had a vest on. When
he ascertained that, he shot him in the head point-blank."
Officer Williams fell unconscious to the street
alongside his car. As the two suspects fled, Mr. Reynolds turned and
fired four more shots that missed the officer, Mr. Connelly said.
A passer-by used the officer's portable radio to call
Both men are scheduled to be arraigned Monday, when
authorities said Mr. Reynolds would be charged with murder. Mr. Crawford
was charged with hindering prosecution.
Officer Walter T. Williams III
Waterbury Police Department
End of Watch: Friday, December 18, 1992
Tour of Duty: 8 years
Badge Number: 80
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Friday, December 18, 1992
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Sentenced to death
Officer Williams was patrolling his area at about
0400 hours when he noticed two suspicious males. He was about to
question the males when one of them checked Officer Williams' chest to
see if he was wearing his vest, which he was. The suspect then pulled
out a handgun and shot Officer Williams in the head, leaving him alone
next to the police car to die. A passerby noticed Officer Williams and
used the police radio to call for help. The suspect was found shortly
after that morning and has since been awaiting his death sentence.
Officer Williams had been with the agency for eight
years and was survived by his wife and three sons.