Thursday 27 January 2011

POMONA - There are no second chances in death, but the District Attorney's Office is taking a second shot at the death penalty for a convicted murderer.
Prosecutors Stacy Okun-Wiese and Pak Kouch announced Tuesday they would seek to retry the penalty phase in the murder trial of Manling Williams.
In 2007, Williams, of Rowland Heights, hacked her husband Neal to death with a samurai sword and smothered her two young children, 7-year-old Devon and 3-year-old Ian.
Williams faced the death penalty, but a jury on Nov. 29 deadlocked 8-4 in favor of death.
Judge Robert Martinez ordered a new penalty phase to begin on April 18 with jury selection.
Neal Williams' mother, Jan Williams, said she wanted only
Manling Williams
life in prison for Manling Williams."I am disappointed," she said. "I know why. They said why. But it is not what I would have chosen. That is a purely selfish standpoint of mine, I just don't want to do it again. It is hell to go through."
Okun-Wiese said prosecutors took Jan Williams' wishes into consideration but decided to retry the death penalty phase of the trial anyway.
Okun-Wiese declined a request for comment outside the courtroom.
Head Deputy District Attorney Gary Hearnsberger issued a short statement regarding the decision.
"Our view of the evidence convinces us that the death penalty is the appropriate punishment in this case," he said. "Therefore we are trying it to a new jury."

Manling Williams' defense attorney Haydeh Takasugi said she was "shocked" the prosecutors were still seeking the death penalty.

Her office received notice of the decision Jan. 6.
Takasugi offered a plea bargain for life without parole and Williams would waive her rights to appeal. It was denied by the prosecution.
"We have two families that went through a tragic trial," Takasugi said. "(Jan) Williams has said she can't even do a penalty phase and for them to ignore that is startling ... my heart aches for her."
Co-defense attorney Tom Althaus asked Martinez for the trial to be held in May, but the judge said he wanted to get it started as soon as possible.
The timing will make the retrial complicated, Althaus said. Expert witnesses, family, and friends will have to be contacted to testify again, some of whom came from out of town for the trial.
"It is hard for some of these (witnesses) to even understand why they have to do it again," he said. "Everyone seems to agree that life without parole is OK."
The decision from the prosecution comes following an emotional trial that lasted weeks.
Manling Williams' father Kai Tai Tsang stood in court and apologized to the Williams family, asking to bear the responsibility for his daughter's actions.
The Tsang family shared many secrets, including a tough childhood for Williams who at times was abused by her parents.
For Jan Williams and friends of the Williams family, they will be asked to recount memories of their lost loved ones again in open court, as well as talk about their former friend who took the lives of her family.
For Jan Williams, life without parole is suitable justice in this circumstance.
"I don't think the death penalty would solve anything," she said. "In general I don't think it is a deterrent. And if California isn't going to execute anyone for decades, it is kind of silly to have a death penalty. It would definitely be cost effective and easier on the families to just give them life without parole."

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