Honolulu attorney to help ex-soldier decide appeal

Naeem Williams (Courtroom sketch: Wayne Takazono)

HONOLULU (AP) – A federal judge is appointing a Honolulu defense attorney to help a former soldier decide whether he’ll appeal his murder conviction in his 5-year-old daughter’s beating death.

The case against Naeem Williams was the first death penalty case to go to trial in the history of Hawaii’s statehood. He avoided the death penalty when jurors who convicted him of murder were later unable to agree on whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

Attorney Brook Hart told the judge Tuesday he’s honored to accept the assignment.

Defense attorneys who represented Williams at trial asked that he receive legal help in deciding whether to appeal the conviction. Those attorneys say they can’t advise him because they believe appealing could re-expose him to another death penalty trial.

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