Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Man In Shadows

Trials and Tribulations

Leighton and Williams went on trial for murder in January 2001. Because of a decision by trial Judge Terry Green that some of the statements contained in Williams' prison letters could not be used against Leighton, the D.A.'s Office, which wanted to try the two men together, had to empanel two juries for the same trial, one for Leighton and one for Williams.

The trial lasted four months.

On May 22, Leighton's jury found him guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.

Two days later, Williams' jury announced it could not reach a verdict. In an effort to salvage the trial, Judge Green ordered the attorneys for both sides to make a second round of closing arguments to the stymied jurors. It did no good. Five days later the jury was still deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.

On August 13, Judge Green tossed out Leighton's conviction because one of the prosecutors, Deputy District Attorney Michael Duarte, had failed to turn over the original notes taken during one of his interviews with a prosecution witness.

The state of California would have to try both Leighton and Williams again.

This time, prosecutors decided to try the men separately.

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