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March 23, 2013

Appeals court rules against Williams

WASHINGTON — A state appeals court upheld the murder conviction and sentence of Derek Franklin Williams this week.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Williams' 65-year sentence for the murder of his wife Kim was appropriate.

Williams, 50, was convicted in Daviess Superior Court  on April 9, 2012 for the Feb. 4, 2011 murder of his wife. The court also affirmed the trial court acted appropriately in jury instructions by denying Williams' request to instruct the jury about voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge and a lower sentence than murder.

In the 3-0 written decision, the court said judge Dean Sobecki made the correct decision in distinguishing voluntary manslaughter from murder was the legal element called "sudden heat." The term is used for "anger, rage, resentment or terror sufficient to obscure the reason of an ordinary man; it prevents deliberation and premeditation, excludes malice, and renders a person incapable of cool reflection." The court ruled that since Williams told work colleagues that it would been easier to kill her financially rather than divorce her, there was evidence enough of premeditation and not enough of sudden heat.

It went on to say that if Sobecki had instructed the jury on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, it would have committed an error.

On the second issue of the sentence length, the court said in its decision Williams¹ defense held the burden of proof that his sentence was too long.

The court said Williams' defense failed to provide enough proof due to the nature of the crime. It cited Williams killed his wife while she was in a defensive position, and caused pain. The court also noted the children were in the home and Williams struggled with Daviess County Sheriff's Dep. Mark Bledsoe when he arrived in the home.

Daviess County Prosecutor Dan Murrie said he appreciated the opinions the appeals court had made in the case.

"However, every time I think about this case, my thoughts go back to the victim and her two young sons," Murrie said. "Above all else, I hope they find peace, understanding and live well going forward." Williams was represented by Eugene Hollander of the state's Public Defender office while the state was represented by Attorney General Greg Zoeller and deputy George Sherman.


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