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Lucas County jurors deciding the capital murder case of Samuel Williams were asked during closing arguments Thursday by both prosecutors and the defense to consider all the facts — although the sides contended that the facts pointed in different directions.
Williams, 24, and co-defendant Cameo Pettaway, 23, each are charged with two counts each of aggravated murder and kidnapping and one count of aggravated burglary in the Jan. 30, 2011 deaths of Lisa Straub, 20, and Johnny Clarke, 21. The two were found inside the home of Ms. Straub’s parents with their hands bound behind their backs and plastic bags secured tightly around their necks with black duct tape. Clarke’s ankles also were bound with duct tape.
Jurors heard closing arguments from both the state and defense before breaking for lunch today in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. The state will have a second opportunity to argue to jurors during the afternoon.
During a simultaneous trial held in a different courtroom, additional testimony was given during Mr. Pettaway’s trial.
Assistant County Prosecutor Rob Miller reminded jurors that of the nearly 90 people whose DNA was tested and compared to evidence collected in the house, only the DNA of Williams and Mr. Pettaway was found at the crime scene.
“…A cigarette on the floor doesn’t mean much but when you couple it with phone records, conversations, jail calls…,” he said. “…Someone who doesn’t know Johnny Clarke or Lisa Straub left their DNA at a double homicide crime scene. They may have well signed their name.”
Mr. Miller asked jurors to also consider the testimony of an informant, who testified that Williams spoke about the incident while they two were in custody.
Attorney John Thebes asked jurors to consider DNA and pointed out the numerous pieces of evidence that contained DNA of others.
“These are the facts and these objective facts don’t point toward Mr. Williams, they point to someone else,” he said.
Mr. Thebes also asked jurors to scrutinize the testimony of the informant, Erik Yingling, and pointed out several areas of his testimony that contradicted with the facts of the case. He then asked jurors to question why, after spending so many months not saying anything, Williams would open up while in custody.
“Somebody so guilt ridden, that for eight months, from January until he was arrested, he doesn’t say anything,” Mr. Thebes said of Williams. “But Mr. Yingling comes in court and puts down that Monopoly [get out of jail free] card.”