A man believed to be homeless, known around his neighborhood for selling bootleg CDs, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the stabbing death of 37-year-old Sean West.
Richard Williams, 43, chose to represent himself at trial in December 2013 as he faced charges of second-degree murder while armed and related offenses.
Williams was diagnosed with a malingering personality disorder and alcohol dependency in April 2013 after several mental health observations. He was found competent for trial in November 2013 and refused legal representation short after.
Instead, Williams chose to represent himself during trial, leaving behind handwritten documents that give insight to his belief that he was being framed.
On Aug. 27, 2010, police found West stabbed in the 4400 block of Wheeler Road, Oxon Hill, Md. He was transported to United Medical Center where he later died, Charging documents state that West died of a single stab wound that perforated one of his lungs and his heart.
At the scene, police found a trail of blood that began in front of 4314 Wheeler Road, across Southern Avenue, into Maryland, and into the liquor store where West was found bleeding from his chest.
Three years after West’s death, his fiancée Sharell Pitts said she was glad the trial was finally over. “I’m at peace, his family is at peace,” Pitts said. “I am looking forward to telling my kids it’s over.”
Williams’ handwritten documents will persist beyond his trial. Most are motions and letters addressed to Judge Robert E. Morin asking for his attention to different issues.
Some documents illustrate that Williams was convinced false statements and altered video surveillance tapes were being used against him in court. One handwritten motion addressed US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts asks for Judge Morin to be removed from the case.
“I would like to know how injustice can be up hold with justice. My Constitutional Rights has been violated more ways than one … Asking for Judge Morin to be removed from the case,” Williams wrote. He signed the motion, “Subscribed and Affirmed by the Voluntary Act of my own hand in the city of Washington DC on this 1, day of the February, month in the year of 2013.”
At sentencing, Judge Morin recommended Williams receive mental health treatment.
“Mr. Williams has an unusual style about him,” Judge Morin said during sentencing. According to Judge Morin, Williams said nothing during the trial while representing himself that was used against him or considered as evidence by the jury when they made their verdict in December.
During his sentence Williams addressed the court:
“I am the chosen one to go into this prison and show these brothers the truth,” Williams said. “God is on his way back, I am the saint that knows that God is coming back and I will show you.”