Prosecutors said Monday they will no longer seek capital punishment for a man accused of killing two witnesses, citing allegations of misconduct against one of their own attorneys.
Randall Williams, whose first trial ended last month in a hung jury, will now face a maximum possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole in his retrial in the 1998 shooting deaths of Jamie Navaroli and April Mahoney.
"A lot of it had to do with how the [first] trial went," said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the L.A. County district attorney's office. "The trial was not going particularly well because of allegations that were made regarding discovery."
Late in Williams' trial, which lasted nearly four months, a law clerk for the prosecution told a supervisor that Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Duarte had concealed from defense attorneys statements made by a key prosecution witness. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Terry A. Green told jurors the prosecutor's action was "without lawful justification and in violation of a specific court order that required [prosecutors] to turn over all witness statements." Next month, the judge will decide whether Duarte should be held in contempt.