Former Soldier May Receive First Death Penalty In Hawaii

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

HONOLULU (AP) - A federal jury has decided a former Hawaii soldier convicted of murder is eligible for the death penalty, in the first capital case in the history of Hawaii's statehood.

Jurors will next decide whether to sentence Naeem Williams to death or give him life in prison without the possibility of release. That phase of the trial begins Wednesday.

The same jury last month convicted Williams in his daughter Talia's 2005 beating death.

Hawaii's territorial government abolished capital punishment in 1957, meaning the death penalty hasn't been an option in Hawaii since it became a state. But Williams was tried in the federal system because the crime occurred on military property.

His attorneys argued he was ineligible for a death sentence because of his low IQ. Prosecutors said Talia's age and other factors made the killing heinous enough to warrant the death penalty.

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