Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Suspect indicted in murder of ex-Bronco Williams
DENVER -- A 25-year-old man was indicted Wednesday on
first-degree murder charges in the drive-by shooting death of
Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams on New Year's Day 2007.
Willie D. Clark faces 39 counts, including murder, attempted
murder, assault, crimes of violence and a weapons violation, Denver
District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said.
Clark is in federal custody in a separate case. He was long
considered a "person of interest" in Williams' slaying but is the
first suspect to be indicted.
Williams' mother, Rosalind Williams of Fort Worth, Texas, told
The Associated Press that the indictment brought her peace but also
dredged up painful memories.
"Oh, I got bittersweet news today," she said of her phone call
from Detective Michael Martinez informing her of Clark's
indictment. "There's still a long ways to go, a long trial ahead.
And we have to make sure this doesn't happen to another family,
Williams a former Oklahoma State standout, was shot and killed
while riding in a rented limousine early on Jan. 1, 2007, after
leaving the Safari Club, a Denver nightclub. He was 24.
The indictment said Williams and Clark were at the club with
separate groups of friends and there was an altercation between the
two groups. Quoting witnesses, it said Clark got into an SUV,
followed the rented limo carrying Williams and opened fire.
At least 15 shots were fired into the limo. Williams was shot in
the neck, and two other passengers, Nicole Reindl and Brandon
Flowers, were wounded, the indictment said.
Kansas City Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore said the Brandon Flowers
injured in the attack is not the Chiefs' rookie cornerback of the
Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed Jan. 1, 2007.
Also in the limousine was then-Broncos wide receiver Javon
Walker, who held the dying Williams in his arms. Walker, now with
the Oakland Raiders, wasn't injured.
Clark does not yet have an attorney for the Williams indictment,
said Denver district attorney's spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough. A call
after hours to his attorney on a separate federal case, Alaurice
Tafoya-Modi, was not immediately returned.
According to the indictment, taunts were exchanged between the
groups inside the nightclub, and both groups went outside when the
club closed. Witnesses testified that a "large" man from
Williams' group then grabbed Clark "about the head."
Clark asked friends for "a heater," or gun, according to the
indictment. Williams and his companions took off in the limo and
Clark, driving the SUV, caught up and fired, a witness said. Two
weapons -- a .45-caliber handgun and a .40-caliber gun -- were used,
according to the indictment.
"Obviously there's more than one shooter," Morrissey said.
Clark was arrested on a parole violation four days after
Williams was killed. He was charged with drug violations last year
in an indictment that also named Brian Hicks, the registered owner
of the SUV police say was used in the shooting.
Investigators have said Clark was part of Hicks' alleged drug
operation. Hicks was in jail at the time of Williams' shooting.
Morrissey emphasized at a news conference that the police
investigation into the slaying was continuing. He described the
lead-up to Williams' slaying as "something that wasn't even a good
fist fight, but because weapons were involved it turned into a
shooting. ... It's senseless."
Police expressed frustration at the "no snitch" culture they
encountered during the investigation. A break in the case occurred
Aug. 21 when Detective Martinez authenticated a letter written by
Clark allegedly admitting to the slaying. The letter was obtained
by the Rocky Mountain News.
The indictment came down after the Broncos' practice, and
long-snapper Mike Leach said as he left the team's headquarters
that it brought a sense of relief to the team.
"We've been waiting for this for a long time. Hopefully they
have all their ducks in a row and everything will work out the way
we hope it will," he said. "I hope in some way it brings comfort
to D-Will's mom and his family. You can't do anything to bring him
back but if it after all these years gives a little comfort to
them, hopefully it will."
Nick Ferguson, a safety who played for the Broncos with
Williams, said he hoped authorities have the right person.
"I trust the people investigating the case did their homework
and they won't drag people into court on charges that won't
stick," said Ferguson, now with the Houston Texans. "I've seen
that happen too many times.
"I'm like a lot of people who knew Darrent. I just want the
people responsible to pay their debt to society for taking such a
young, vibrant man from his kids and his family. Not a moment goes
by that I don't think about D-Will and his family after what
happened that night."
Williams' death hung over the Broncos throughout the 2007
season, as did the death of backup running back Damien Nash, who
collapsed after a charity basketball game in St. Louis in March