Jurors deliberate death penalty for former Schofield soldier

Naeem Williams (Courtroom sketch: Wayne Takazono)

The fate of a former Schofield soldier now lies in the hands of a federal jury.

Closing arguments were heard Thursday in the sentencing “eligibility phase” of Naeem Williams’ murder trial.

The former Wheeler Army Airfield resident was convicted of murdering his 5-year-old daughter Talia last month and could face the death penalty because the act was committed on military property.

Prosecutors argued Thursday that Williams and his wife severely beat and abused the girl for several months until her death. They said the day she died, Williams cleaned the walls of the house and took a bath instead of calling 911.

The defense said Williams suffered from intellectual impairment, abused alcohol and did not intend to kill his daughter. Instead, they argued that he was trying to discipline her.

In order to receive capital punishment, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Williams beat his daughter in July 2005 with the intent to cause serious injury or death, knew the act was heinous, cruel and created a risk of death and that Talia was vulnerable because of her youth.

All 12 jurors must reach a unanimous decision for Williams to be eligible for the death penalty.

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