Murder trial to be held after season
DENVER -- The trial for a man accused of killing Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams will be held after the NFL season to give defense attorneys more time to interview NFL players who are witnesses.
Willie Clark faces first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Williams on New Year's Day 2007. Clark's trial had been set for Oct. 13, but was moved to Feb. 22 by Denver District Judge Christina Habas on Friday.
Williams was shot and killed while riding in a limousine on Jan. 1, 2007, after leaving a Denver nightclub. He was 24.
Authorities say that Williams and other players went to the club hours after their last game of the 2006-2007 season and got into an altercation with another group that included Clark. Prosecutors contend Clark fired shots into the limousine from an SUV.
Defense attorney Darien Cantor said Friday that defense investigators are having trouble reaching NFL players who witnessed the crime. Among them is then-Broncos wide receiver Jason Walker, who held the injured Williams in his arms. Walker, now with the Oakland Raiders, wasn't hurt.
A handcuffed and shackled Clark told Habas on Friday that he doesn't think he can get a fair trial because the media have vilified him since Williams' death.
"I don't see I'm getting a fair trial anyway," Clark said. "I was in the media for two years, they're constantly [saying], 'He done it, he done it.'"
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey has said there was more than one shooter but that witnesses have been reluctant to talk to investigators. Two weapons, a .45-caliber handgun and a .40-caliber gun, were used in Williams' slaying.
Clark and two other men face murder charges in the killing of a witness in an unrelated drug case.
Habas rejected Cantor's request to exclude testimony from witnesses who have cooperated or received "compensation" from prosecutors, saying it's up to the jury to determine a witness' credibility.
She also rejected Cantor's request to dismiss physical evidence involving firearm tool markings -- scrapings, nicks and other marks left by a firearm on shell casings. Cantor had contended it was "junk science."
The judge did order prosecutors to give the defense a witness list. She also ordered police to turn over information about Denver Crime Stoppers, which allows the public to report tips to police anonymously.
According to Cantor, a witness code-named "Cuba Orange" called the hot line shortly after the slaying to report that another person had confessed to being the shooter.
Prosecutors revealed that a witness against Clark has been indicted. Denver district attorney's spokeswoman Robin Finegan said it involves Mario Anderson, a man who police say was in the back seat of the SUV.
Anderson faces two charges of perjury, and a charge of attempting to influence a public servant, Finegan said. Additional details were not immediately available.
A phone number for Anderson could not be found and it was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press