The Murder of Daniel Williams
During his interrogation, Richardson at first denied even being at the murder scene. He denied ever meeting Daniel. He denied everything. Eventually, Fanning broke the news to Richardson that his DNA had been found on the condom that had been lying under the victim's body.
The cornered suspect started to explain. "I'm not a bad guy. I mean, I've done some things, but whatever I've done, you know, whatever I've done, I'll apologize for."
The detectives turned their hand over slowly, one card at a time.
Fanning explains the strategy: "They lie more and lie more and lie more, and you just show them their lies, and you show them some of the information and some of the evidence that you have, and they finally realize that there's no sense in lying anymore, that we know the truth."
Richardson admitted he drank a lot and used drugs regularly around the time of Daniel's death. He also frequented a strip bar near 12th and Compton. One night while drunk, Richardson cruised through the area in his car and picked up what he thought was a female prostitute.
The detectives pressed him for more details.
"It's kinda foggy," Richardson said. "It was a long time ago. I was drunk, you know."
"What type of sex were you having with this person?" one of the detectives asked.
"Sex was oral...and then regular sex with him," Richardson said.
After a while the pair got out of the car and started having what Richardson said he thought was vaginal intercourse. While the two of them were bumping and grinding against the fender, Daniel made a remark that Richardson claimed first tipped him that the 6-foot-2-inch, nearly 220-pound prostitute was actually a man.
"The comments were not (from) a woman," Richardson said. "I can't even remember the exact words, you know, dialogue or whatever it was."
Richardson said he went nuts. "I lost it."
He pulled a gun and shot twice.
"I mean I didn't try to kill nobody, you know," Richardson said. "That was, that was purely an accident, you know? Anytime I do anything, I don't hurt people, it's accidental. I didn't really hurt too many people in my life, you know. Whatever I've done to anybody you know, (was an) accident."
Abdul and Fanning had heard the same story countless times. It was a mistake. The gun just went off. I didn't mean to hurt anybody.
"In Mr. Richardson's case," Fanning says, "he seemed very relieved to finally get it off his chest, like he'd been carrying it around for some time."
Even after Richardson confessed to killing Daniel Williams, he pleaded not guilty and went to trial. He was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and faces eleven years in prison.
Without breakthroughs in DNA technology and the development of a comprehensive DNA database, the investigation of the murder of Daniel Williams would have almost certainly remained forever locked up in the cold case files of the Los Angeles Police Department. Just another unsolved homicide. Just another uncaught killer.
"Technology caught up with the investigation and solved the case for us," Baitx says.