Hung jury for woman who butchered husband and smothered children

This just in:

POMONA – A jury debating the death penalty for a Rowland Heights woman convicted of killing her family deadlocked on Monday.

Following deliberations in the penalty phase of Manling Williams’ trial, the jury was hung, court officials said Monday. Eight jurors favored recommending death for Williams, while four preferred life without parole, Los Angles County District Attorney’s office officials said.

A hearing was scheduled for Jan. 11 to determine the next course of action.

“At that time, the district attorney’s office will announce whether we intend to retry the penalty phase,” said spokeswoman Shiara Davila. “In the event we do, we will do so with a brand new jury.”

Williams faced the death penalty after she was convicted on Nov. 4 of slashing to death her husband, Neal, and smothering her two sons, Devon, 7, and Ian, 3, with a pillow in their Rowland Heights home on Aug. 7, 2007.

The jury deliberated for more than two days before determining it could not reach a decision.

If the DA opts not to retry the penalty phase, Williams will be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, Davila said.

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Advice for making it look like suicide

This comes via a Facebook status update from Jan Williams, whose son Neal and two grandsons were brutally killed in 2007 by Neal’s wife Manling. Trial is underway in the case. Prosecutors allege that Manling wanted to make it look as if Neal committed suicide. As Jan points out there were a few problems with that plan:

Jan Williams In planning a suicide, it might be well to remember that it is very difficult to stab yourself repeatedly in the back, especially when your hands and fingers have been severed. That’s free advice.
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Torrid affair between Manling and classmate led to 2007 triple slaying

A woman who killed her husband and two children was tired of being a wife and mother, a prosecutor argued Thursday. 
So tired of the drudgery that Manling Willians smothered her two young children sliced her husband Neal to death with a Kitana sword.
She was having a torrid affair, prosecutor Pak Kouch said.
Meanwhile Manling’s attorney admitted her client’s guilt in the 2007 triple slaying, but tried to minimize the premeditation. 
On her blog, Grief’s Journey, Neal’s mom, Jan WIlliams, described the first day of the hearing as gut wrenching.

I’m shell shocked. I don’t know how much I can write about this right now. It’s going to take a lot of assimilating. My notes are disjointed and staccato, and it will be a few days before my feelings and stomach settle down and I can really write about it. It’s too new, too immediate and too awful.

The defense attorneys admitted to the jury that Manling committed the murders. They are not contesting the crime scene information. What they will argue is the legal definition of first degree murder. I don’t really understand that, but I’m not understanding much of anything today. My system is on complete overload.

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Jurors seated in trial of woman accused of killing husband, kids

Manling Williams case heads to trial. This from Jan Williams in a Facebook post: 

Jan Williams 12 jurors and 8 alternates were chosen and sworn in today. Opening statements and testimony start tomorrow morning at 9:30 am. It’s actually starting and I must confess I feel a little nausiated. I’m going to put my feet up and try to take this all in. Monkey.
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Neal’s Birthday

Neal Williams would have been 29 today.

In 2007, he was stabbed to death and his two young sons were smothered. Police subsequently arrested his wife Man-ling Tsang Williams on suspicion of murder. She faces trial and possibly the death penalty as a result.
Neal’s mom, Jan Williams, of Whittier, remembered her son in a blog post today at Grief’s Journey. Here’s an excerpt:
27946-Three boys-thumb-300x225-thumb-300x225-thumb-100x75.jpg

Last year was hard. I’ve said this before, I know, but the pain of losing a child is like a primal scream. It feels like a piece of your very soul has been ripped out and there is no comfort or solace for that kind of pain. Time may dull the edge of it a bit, but you will live with the pain of your loss for the rest of your life. There is no “getting over it”. You can come to accept that loss and make it a part of who you have become, so that you can move ahead in life. But, you always feel sorrow that your child is gone.

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Manling pleads not guilty again in triple homicide

POMONA – A woman accused of slashing her husband two death with a sword and smothering their two young children as they slept in their Rowland Heights home in 2007 entered a not guilty plea in court Tuesday, officials said.

Manling Tsang Williams, 29, appeared for her second arraignment at Pomona Superior Court, court officials said.

She is due back in court March 5 for a “status hearing,” in which prosectors and defense attorneys will meet to determine if they’re ready for trial, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.

A trial date is scheduled to be set April 15, she added.

She allegedly stabbed her husband, 27-year-old Neal Williams, 97 times with a sword.

The couple’s two sons, Devon, 7, and Ian, 3, were smothered to death with a pillow in their beds, prosecutors allege.

According to court records, Manling Williams is being held without bail.

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A rally for Marsy’s Law

Jan Williams, whose son and grandsons were killed last August at their home in Rowland Heights, will be participating in a rally supporting Marcy’s Law, described as a bill of rights for victims of violent crimes. The press conference will take place outside the condo where Neal, Devon and Ian were slain. Here’s the top of the press release:

As children prepare to go house to house “trick or treating” on Halloween Friday, a Los Angeles man will be traveling across Los Angeles and Orange County from murder scene to murder scene. He will not be gathering candy, but stories of murder. The man is a local criminal prosecutor who worked with Broadcom billionaire Henry Nicholas to give victims rights by co-writing Prop 9, the “Victims Bill of Rights”. The prosecutor, a local Deputy District Attorney, “Marsy’s Law” in memory of Nicholas’s murdered sister, is on the November 4, 2008 ballot.

Press Conferences/ “Yes on Prop. 9” Tour of Murder Scenes (Oct. 29, 30, 31)
Over the three day period there will be a series of press conferences featuring the prosecutor who wrote Marsy’s law and the victims stories that inspired the changes in the law. Family members of murdered victims will tell not only the story of the murder, but the story of how they were re-victimized by the criminal justice system. The pilgrimage will begin on Wednesday October 29, 2008 in Malibu at the scene of 20 year old Marsy’s brutal shotgun murder and end in Orange County, with victims right leaders who inspired the writing of Prop 9.

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An ordinary day

I received this letter from Jan Williams. As you may remember Williams lost her son and grandsons last summer. Neal, Ian and Devon Williams were all killed. Neal’s wife and the boys’ mother Manling Williams was arrested on suspicion of murder and could face teh death penalty. A preliminary hearing in the case, scheduled for last Wednesday was postponed until Sept. 11.

Letter on the jump

Continue reading “An ordinary day” »

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