Williams was sentenced to die for the slaying of a Cumberland County,
Virginia couple who were robbed and shot to death and whose house
was set on fire on Feb. 27, 1993.
After the slaying
of Morris Keller Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Keller, Williams and an
accomplice fled to Fredericksburg in the Kellers' stolen Jeep. The
accomplice, Jeffrey Alan Cruse, who was 25 at the time, testified
against Williams and received a life sentence.
Williams was tried
in January 1994. In addition to the Keller murders, the jury also
heard evidence that Williams had killed 4 men in Prince George
County in December 1992.
Williams, now 31,
was convicted of capital murder in the Kellers' deaths, along with
burglary, rape, arson, 2 counts of robbery and 2 counts of abduction.
He was sentenced to death for the slayings and is scheduled to die
by injection at 9 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center.
He later pleaded
guilty to 1 count of capital murder and 3 counts of 1st-degree
murder for the Prince George slayings and was sentenced to life in
prison for each slaying.
Cruse and Williams
planned to rob customers in a market in Cumberland County between
9:30 and 10:30 p.m. with Williams' .357 caliber revolver but the
store was closed when they arrived.
They decided to rob
the nearby home of the Kellers. Morris Keller, 45, operated
Gibralter Wood Co.; Mary Elizabeth Keller, 35, worked for an
Cruse knocked on
the door and the 2 men entered the Kellers' home. Williams, who was
holding the gun, ordered the Kellers to take off all their clothes
and he stayed in the kitchen with them as Cruse searched the house
Cruse found a .38
caliber handgun. The Kellers were tied up and placed in closets.
After some of the Kellers' property was assembled in the living room,
first Williams and then Cruse raped Mrs. Keller. Williams told the
Kellers they were all going "to take a walk."
Hearing that they
planned to burn the house, Mrs. Keller took her marriage certificate
with her as they were marched to a thicket in a wooded area near the
house. Williams shot Mr. Keller and Cruse shot Mrs. Keller. "After
Mrs. Keller fell, Mr. Keller stood up and Williams shot him again...
As Cruse started to walk away, Williams said, 'Wait... (w)hat if
they ain't dead?' and he shot each of the Kellers 'a couple more
times apiece' with the .38 caliber handgun."
The 2 gunmen then
loaded stolen property into the Kellers' Jeep, set fire to the house
and then drove to Fredericksburg where they sold some of the
property. They threw the remaining property and the .357 caliber
handgun into the Rappahannock River and then set fire to the Jeep.
Both men testified
at Williams' trial. Each admitted to firing one shot but blamed the
rest of the 7 shots on the other. The U.S. Supreme Court granted a
stay less than an hour before Williams was scheduled for execution.
In a final appeal,
attorneys for Williams argued that Williams' constitutional rights
were violated when the prosecutor used the fact that he had heard
other witnesses' testimony to impeach his testimony.
However, the appeal
was granted based on a second issue raised by the appeal -- that
Williams was denied a federal evidence hearing on claims the state
suppressed facts and denied discovery requests and investigative
resources during state court proceedings.
one of Williams' attorneys, said the high court agreed to review a
portion of a 1996 federal law that restricts a U.S. district court's
ability to conduct evidentiary hearings. "It will affect a lot of
people,'' she said.
David Botkins, a
spokesman for Attorney General Mark Earley, said several relatives
of Williams' victims had gone to Jarratt to witness the execution. "It's
unfortunate at this particular juncture that the victims' family
members have to relive the horror of the last few years,'' Botkins
He said the state
would argue vigorously to uphold the death sentence. Williams did
not seek clemency from Gov. Jim Gilmore. Ms. Hartung declined to say