Jury Hears Testimony From Dead Witness In Accused Cop Killer's Re-Trial

Jury Hears Testimony From Dead Witness In Accused Cop Killer's Re-Trial

A dead witness testified today about the murder of Memphis Police Officer Don Williams.
MEMPHIS, TN— A dead witness testified today about the murder of Memphis Police Officer Don Williams. Prosecutor's played an audio recording of witness testimony from April 10, 2012. Williams was shot and killed in 1997 outside Crumpy’s Comedy Club as he worked as a security guard. Timothy McKinney was convicted of killing him and sent to death row in 1999 but an appeals court eventually ordered a new trial. That trial last year ended with a hung jury. Now trial number three is underway.

Both families are hoping for closure. The jury has to rely on eye witness testimony to figure out if McKinney killed Williams nearly two decades ago but with so much time that has gone by, some of the key witnesses have passed away.

Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors played an audio tape for the jury of former Memphis Police Officer Frank Lee's testimony from April 2012. Lee and Williams were good friends and working together the night Williams was killed. Lee identified Timothy McKinney as the trigger man. Lee could not testify in person today. He died of natural causes in November 2012.

"There are some other live witnesses that will testify and saw something different,” said McKinney’s attorney Gerald Skahan. “So it comes down to who the jury wants to believe."

Both sides agree, not having a "live" witness on the stand takes away the emotional reaction jurors can see.

"It becomes increasingly difficult for prosecutors but they've been able to reconstruct testimony in the past,” said the Shelby County District Spokesperson Vince Higgins.

Higgins is also the spokesperson for the Williams’ family. He was Williams’ cousin. Higgins says it's been hard to listen, for the third time, to hours of testimony about how his cousin was killed and there's still a chance for yet another appeal.

"I don't want to think about that,” said Higgins. “It means we have to come back to this horrible nightmare every time they have to do another trial. So we pray for closure.”

McKinney's family wants the same thing. They did not have much to say to us after court wrapped up for the day.

He needs to come home. He already wasted 16 years of his life. I feel like he needs to come home,” said one of McKinney’s cousins.

Prosecutors will bring more witnesses to the stand Wednesday morning.
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