Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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A.K.A.: "Mathematics"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Attempted robbery - Drugs
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 29, 1995
Date of birth: ???
Victim profile: Richard White, a.k.a. “Pookie” (drug dealer)
Method of murder: Shooting (MAC 10 automatic weapon)
Location: Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 2001

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania


opinion J-105-2004


On May 29, 1995, Richard White, a.k.a. “Pookie,” telephoned Lamar Peterson, a friend of Williams, seeking to buy a large quantity of marijuana to replenish the inventory for his drug dealing operation.

Peterson concluded that if White had sold all his marijuana, White would have a significant amount of cash on hand. Peterson suggested to Williams that they rob White through a “stinger;" Peterson would engage White in a drug transaction, during which Williams would suddenly appear and rob them both.

Peterson and Williams would reconnect later and share in the pelf. Peterson, Williams, and Curtis French set out to find White, but Peterson could not remember the exact location of White’s apartment.

The three returned to Peterson’s apartment where they informed Ralph Logan, a.k.a. “Rah-Rah,” and Luis Avila, a.k.a. “TBone,” of the plan. The group decided to make another attempt to find White. This time, Avila called White and informed him he would soon drop by to purchase marijuana.

Avila, Logan, and Williams set out on another robbery attempt; however, this too was unsuccessful after the trio went to the wrong apartment. Again, Williams and his cohorts returned to Peterson’s apartment. Giving the “stinger” one last try, Avila called White again and ascertained his apartment’s exact location; Williams, Avila, and Logan again set out to rob him.

White was on his balcony when he saw the trio approaching; White tucked a pistol in the rear of his shorts and headed to the street, where he encountered the group. Williams demanded White take him to his apartment and hand over his cash.

When White refused, pleading with his arms in the air that his children were inside sleeping, Williams pulled out a MAC 10 automatic weapon and fired two bullets into White’s chest and a third into his thigh as he fell to the ground. With White lying in the street, the group fled back to Peterson’s apartment.

Upon their arrival, Williams informed Peterson that because White was uncooperative, he “wetted him lovely,” i.e., Williams shot him. The other robbers also testified that Williams bragged about shooting White.

Later that summer, Peterson and Williams were arrested in Baltimore by the FBI for an unrelated bank robbery. Facing federal charges, Peterson told authorities of Williams' role in the robbery and murder of White. Avila, French, and Logan were also arrested and each corroborated Peterson’s account. The three later testified Williams used the same weapon in many subsequent bank robberies.

Photographs in Peterson’s possession at the time of his arrest depicted Williams, Peterson, French, and Logan; one showed Williams posing with the MAC 10 used to kill White. In November, 1996, Williams was convicted in federal court of robbery and was sentenced to 687 months federal incarceration.

Having already filed first degree murder charges against Williams, Lehigh County prosecutors monitored Williams' federal prosecution and attended portions of his federal trial. Williams was ultimately transferred to a federal prison in Colorado; Lehigh prosecutors sought extradition.

This request was delayed because Williams had previously filed homicide charges pending against him in New Jersey, which was also attempting to secure him. Eventually Williams was transferred to Lehigh County. Despite repeated warnings and recommendations from the court to the contrary, Williams represented himself during pretrial hearings and at trial.

At trial, and with standby counsel assisting when Williams permitted, Williams attempted to undermine the credibility of his accusers, but took the opportunity to personally attack Commonwealth prosecutors, officers, and criminal justice personnel. Williams repeatedly slurred one black prosecutor as “house n****r” and lead prosecutor as conspirator and liar.

Since the majority of the Commonwealth’s witnesses were co-conspirators in numerous robberies and were currently serving time for other crimes, Williams harangued each about the reduced sentences they received in exchange for their cooperation with the Commonwealth.

Williams suggested French was the triggerman in White’s murder, and maintained a statewide conspiracy was afoot wherein the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office, numerous police departments, prison staff employees, and even appointed standby defense counsel were acting in concert.

Police came into possession of the murder weapon after a failed robbery attempt by Williams, Peterson, French, and another individual. As was their typical strategy, the group tried to rob a drug dealer but were unsuccessful when the dealer brandished a weapon; French dropped the machine gun as the three fled for their lives.

Ballistics tests revealed the gun recovered was used in White’s murder. This same weapon was also linked to the bank robbery Williams was convicted of in federal court.

The car used in the perpetration of White’s murder was also tracked down by police; it had been rented by an associate of Williams, and had a dent in the fender consistent with the strike of a bullet. Testimony revealed that when Williams shot White, one of the bullets exited White’s body and ricocheted off the getaway car.

In addition to the physical evidence, the Commonwealth offered expert medical testimony consistent with its other witnesses’ version of the killing, particularly the fact that White was shot while his arms were raised.

The Commonwealth also presented David Miller, an inmate at Lehigh County Prison, who testified Williams admitted to him he had killed somebody and was seeking Miller’s legal advice concerning his case.

Besides soliciting Miller’s assistance, Williams spoke to another inmate, Louis Washington, about having one of Washington’s family members provide an alibi for Williams' whereabouts on the night of White’s murder. “So then [Williams] offered me some money, and he offered my family some money to have my mother be his alibi ….”).

Coached by Williams, this woman was to testify Williams was with her during the homicide, and because she had no criminal record or prior involvement with Williams, her story would be believed over Williams' criminal cohorts. After being threatened by Williams, Washington told the Commonwealth of Williams' fabrication plans.

As a result, and at the meeting arranged by Williams to “go over” this testimony, Washington’s mother was portrayed by state Trooper Regina Stafford; the Commonwealth had previously secured warrants to record the conversations.

During the conversation, Williams orchestrated a time sequence placing him with Washington’s mother at the time of White’s murder, and informed her exactly what she was expected to say.

At trial, Williams called Washington to authenticate an affidavit exonerating Williams which Washington had signed; Washington testified he signed the affidavit only after being threatened. Williams attacked Washington’s credibility and the suggested alibi fabrication story; on cross-examination, the Commonwealth further explored the fabrication story.

After Williams again tried to discredit Washington by alleging he invented the alibi story to curry favor with the Commonwealth, the prosecution was granted permission, in rebuttal, to verify Washington’s version of events. Officer Stafford testified to the alibi plot, and the tape recording of the conversation was played for the jury. Williams was convicted on all charges.

Williams again represented himself during the penalty hearing, asking the jury to consider his character and the circumstances surrounding the crime, and his allegedly minor criminal record. Williams argued he was not a violent person and made repeated attacks on the character of the victim, i.e., the victim was armed, a neglectful parent, and a notorious drug dealer.

The Commonwealth offered the jury two aggravating circumstances, namely, Williams' history of violent felonies, and that Williams committed the murder while in the course of a felony.

The jury found the Commonwealth proved both aggravating circumstances, and rejected all Williams' proposed mitigating evidence; Williams was sentenced to death.



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