Ex-soldier who murdered his daughter spared from first death penalty in Hawaii's history

Although Hawaii outlawed the death penalty before even becoming a state, Naeem Williams was charged in federal court.
By Matt Bradwell  |  June 27, 2014 at 5:49 PM
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HONOLULU, June 27 (UPI) -- A federal jury in Hawaii sentenced former soldier Naeem Williams to life in prison, sparing him from becoming the first death row inmate in Hawaii state history.

Williams was found guilty of capital murder for beating his 5-year-old daughter to death in 2005, but the same jury was unable agree on whether or not it should sentence Williams to death.

Although Hawaii outlawed the death penalty two years before joining the Union in 1957, Williams was charged in federal court because the murder took place in military housing on the island of Oahu.

After being found guilty in April, jurors listened to weeks of additional testimony to determine if Williams acted with intent, making him eligible for the death penalty.

Jurors began deliberating on June 12, eventually telling U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright it was unable to reach a unanimous decision.

"I think he was very grateful for the outcome and I'm not sure he expected it," Williams attorney told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

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