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Published: Tuesday, 4/10/2012

Springfield Twp. murder suspect denies knowing victims

Samuel Todd Williams is charged with the  2011 deaths of Johnny Clarke and Lisa Straub. Samuel Todd Williams is charged with the 2011 deaths of Johnny Clarke and Lisa Straub.
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Despite being told his DNA was detected on evidence collected at the scene of a double-homicide in Springfield Township, Samuel Williams maintained he had not been to the home and did not know the young couple killed there, according to a police interview played in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Tuesday.

The recorded interview between Williams and Lucas County investigators was played in court so that the dialogue could be transcribed for the official record. The nearly one-hour interview is currently the subject of a defense motion to suppress.

Whether a jury will hear the recording is now to be decided by Judge Dean Mandros.

Williams, 24, of 1626 Kelsey Ave. is charged with two counts each of aggravated murder and of kidnapping and one count of aggravated burglary in the 2011 asphyxiation deaths of a Springfield Township couple. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Judge Mandros heard testimony last month in which the defense said Williams invoked his rights to have an attorney and to remain silent but that the interview continued. Tom Ross, an investigator for the prosecutor’s office, testified at the hearing saying that he read Williams his Miranda rights and that he did not believe Williams clearly cited his rights during the interview.

Williams and co-defendant Cameo Pettaway are charged in the slayings Jan. 31, 2011, of Johnny Clarke, 21, and Lisa Straub, 20, who were found dead in the Long­acre Lane home of Miss Straub’s parents. Williams is slated to go to trial June 4, with jury selection scheduled for the week before. Pettaway’s trial is scheduled for the same week as Williams’.

During the recorded interview, Williams was asked if he had been to Longacre Lane home where Mr. Clarke and Ms. Straub were found with their wrists bound with duct tape and with plastic bags over their heads. He denied that he had been there or knew the home.

In a written memorandum supporting the motion to suppress any of Williams’ statements, attorney John Thebes noted that Williams stated within the first minute of the interview, “Not talking.” He subsequently stated that he would not be making a statement at least four additional times, Mr. Thebes said in the court document.

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