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Monday, November 05, 2007

Familiar Story

'He shot her, reloaded, then shot her again'


Prosecutor picks up nail gun in dramatic opening murder trial

By Robyn Moormeister,»
More from Robyn Moormeister 12:01 a.m. PT Nov 3, 2007

The murder of Hendrika Williams was a tragedy as old as time, Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Francis said in court Friday, a classic case of "If I can't have her, no one can."

Francis began opening statements Friday in the murder trial of Richard Williams, accused of killing his estranged wife with a nail gun, then turning the weapon on himself Oct. 22, 2005.

"Rick (Richard) Williams is a jealous, angry, selfish man," Francis said. She referred to Hendrika "Hetty" Williams as a loving mother, a gifted teacher and a devoted wife who wanted a new chance at happiness.

"He took that away from her," Francis said. "She never got a chance for that life."

Francis picked up a large Remington power-driver nail gun identical to the one used in the killing, slightly straining to raise the heavy tool.

"He shot her, reloaded the charge, reloaded another nail, shot her again, reloaded another nail, then shot her again," Francis told the jury. "He shot her once in the temple, once in the back of the head, and once through her heart."

In his opening, Williams' defense attorney, Stephen Munkelt, said the Williams' relationship was "a love story with a tragic ending." Williams was extremely distraught over his wife's relationship with Burns, which she attempted to keep a secret, Munkelt said.

Williams found out about the affair while he eavesdropped on a call between his wife and her friend a month before the killing. The stress of the betrayal combined with side effects from withdrawal of his anti-depressant medication Paxil drove him to kill, he said.

More here

In 1998, GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Paxil, was ordered to pay $6.4 million to surviving family members after Donald Schnell, 60, just 48 hours after taking Paxil, flew into a rage and killed his wife, daughter and granddaughter. (See documents here)