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The judge won't rule until after Williams' trial whether the prosecution can use Thompson's statement in his trial over his attorney's objections. His statement isn't available to the public but puts the blame on Williams, according to court sources.
While prosecutors have long claimed that Williams confessed to killing Russell with the help of alleged accomplice Randy Thompson just for thrills, documents recently made public as the case heads for trial reveal chilling new details about the teen's slaying.
Williams' defense attorney, Lewis O. Romero, fought for weeks recently to exclude Williams' damning statement from his trial, arguing the young man's rights were violated, partly because he was kept overnight at the police station for 12 hours before being read his rights. But the judge ruled the interview could come in, noting among other things that the teen came to the station voluntarily with his mother's permission, was treated well by police and allowed to slept intermittently for nine of the 12 hours.
Williams said he and Thompson began looking for opportunities to corner and kill Russell about six weeks before they allegedly attacked him in his back yard.
Although the young men's statements are not the only evidence against Williams and Omega Seamaster Women Thompson, they will play a significant role in the upcoming case, which is finally coming to court four years and five months after Russell's slaying.
Confession reveals chilling details of San Jose boy's slaying
"We don't want to sit through it twice," said Cathy Russell, another aunt. "But if this is what it will take to get it done, we want to move forward. We will not miss a day of either trial."
But in a twist, there won't just be one trial there will be two. Williams, who was 15 at the time of the killing, will be tried first, with a trial that is expected to start by the end of the month and stretch an estimated six weeks. Thompson, who was 16, will go next, under a recent court ruling. Both will be tried as adults and face life sentences if they are convicted.
The admission that they had deliberately set out to kill Russell is important because to try both young men as adults, the prosecution needed to charge them with first degree murder, which requires either that the crime was committed during the commission of another felony Omega Constellation Automatic Vintage
Cathy Russell, left, whose nephew, Michael Russell, was stabbed in the backyard of his South San Jose home in November, cries after she, her husband Patrick Leinart, right, and her sister, Donna Russell, spoke December 24, 2009, to journalists about the civil lawsuit the family is filing in Superior Court against the two Santa Teresa High School classmates who have been charged in the case and their parents. Jae Williams and Randy Thompson have been charged as adults with murder. Cathy Russell read a statement stating the family's objections to the way Michael has been portrayed by Williams' and Thompson's families. (/San Jose Mercury News)SAN JOSE As police probed for answers to why he would fatally stab a high school classmate he'd befriended, 15 year old Jae Williams struggled to explain. The boys weren't close friends. His religion Satanism allows killing. And he'd already slain a rabbit and beaten a cat to death.
about the accusations he made in his statement) and the right to avoid self incrimination by not testifying. He could have allowed two juries to hear the case at the same time, as McGuire sought. In that event, each jury would hear only the statement of the defendant it was evaluating and would leave the courtroom when the other defendant's statement was introduced.
DNA on both boys' sweatshirts and testimony from witnesses who say the teens mentioned they wanted to kill someone about a month before Russell's death.
"I guess I just finally wanted to kill somebody," Williams told detectives two days after the November 2009 slaying of Michael Russell, 15, according to a transcript of the interview. "I had my chance and I took it."
But allowing a jury to hear both statements would create a conflict between two constitutional rights the right to confront the accuser (by cross examining him Omega Seamaster Professional Nato
However, Bocanegra chose to hold two separate, consecutive trials, partly because of the difficulty of fitting two juries into a single courtroom. and revealed details of the encounter the next morning.
Dual juries are common in Los Angeles County and occasionally used elsewhere, including Sacramento County. But only one dual jury has been convened in Santa Clara County in the past 14 years, in a 2010 carjacking case in which both defendants were convicted. The advantages of two juries hearing a case one time is it saves time and money and spares witnesses from having to testify twice.
Russell's relatives, who are already frustrated by the delays, were "shocked" to learn there would be two separate trials, said Donna Russell, one of his four aunts.
Judge Arthur Bocanegra split the case because of the incriminating statements each defendant made about the other in their police interviews, and prosecutor Valerie McGuire wants to use those statements to help convict them. In a court brief, she also noted she has other evidence, including Omega Blue Face
"Day by day, we would . ask if he was doing anything or if he was going anywhere, if he wanted to chill with us," Williams told detectives.
or was premeditated.
Jae Williams, left, and Randy Thompson enter the courtroom where they were charged with murder (but not arraigned) in Judge Jerome Nadler's courtroom at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose, Calif. on Tuesday, November 17, 2009. Thompson and Williams are accused of the stabbing death of Michael Russell. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News)Nhat V. MeyerThe accused young men, now 20, implicated each other in separate statements they gave to police. But Williams also made a full confession, prosecutors allege, revealing the victim's last words and their coldblooded motive.
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