First Death Penalty Case In Hawaii

Shawn Estabilio, Journalist

Naeem Williams, a former soldier in the U.S. Army, has been found guilty of murdering his 5 year old daughter; making this the first death penalty case in state history.

Naeem was charged for the capital murder of his daughter, Talia, on July 16, 2005, through child abuse and for killing her over the span of 7 months through assault and torture.

The jury found Naeem guilty of both capital murder counts. Naeem was additionally charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and making false statements.

The trial will now move to the penalty phase next Tuesday. Jurors will hear additional testimony and decide if Naeem deserves the death penalty.

Ordinarily, a case couldn’t pursue the death penalty. However, since the abuse took place at a home in Schofield Barracks, prosecutors can pursue the death penalty through federal laws.

Naeem did testify that he “hit his daughter with a belt and with his fist almost every day, sometimes knocking her out, and shoved his daughter to the floor and into walls.” He also stated that “he beat her after binding her head-to-toe with duct tape to a bedpost, deprived Talia of food and forced her to perform physically exhausting exercises.”

Delilah Williams, Talia’s stepmother, also testified to beating her stepdaughter. She reportedly beat her stepdaughter with a belt, stomped on her, slammed her head into a wall, pulled out clumps of Talia’s hair, and beat Talia after duct taping her to a bedpost. She got 20 years in prison for pleading guilty in 2006.

Naeem testified to hitting his daughter on the day she died, but his lawyers say that that’s not what killed his daughter. The injuries inflicted on her from her stepmother are what killed her.