Janesville56.2°

Woman tells story of witnessing murder

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Ted Sullivan
July 25, 2009
— When the woman awoke, Raymond C. Williams was standing over her and her boyfriend.

“He threw me against the wall,” she testified. “He began to beat Travel (Hester) with a pipe.”


Williams fatally beat Hester in front of the woman in her Rockford, Ill., home, then forced her to have sex and dump the body in Riverside Park in Janesville, she said.


Williams, 39, Rockford, Ill., was bound over for trial Friday on felony charges of kidnapping and hiding a corpse after a preliminary hearing in Rock County Court.


He was acquitted of homicide in Winnebago County, Ill., in the March 2007 death of Hester, 27.


The woman was out drinking alcohol with Hester to celebrate his birthday on the night of the attack, she testified.


After returning home, she and Hester fell asleep, the woman said.


Suddenly, Williams was in her house, even though she had a restraining order against him, the woman said.


Williams beat Hester several times with a pipe, the woman said, and then forced her to hit Hester once.


Hester died, she said.


Williams made the woman help clean up blood, she said.


“He told me if I didn’t help him, he was going to kill me,” the woman said.


Williams pulled a car near her home and forced her to help place Hester’s body in the trunk, the woman said.


The two drove around Rockford with the body but returned to the woman’s home after it became light, she said.


Williams then had sex with her, the woman said.


“He told me Travel wasn’t going to be the last person to touch me,” she said.


The woman then went about her day, taking her child to daycare and spending time with her mom, she said.


She said she couldn’t remember whether she went to work.


The woman never reported the murder to police or her mom, she said.


The next night, Williams forced her to drive with him to Janesville, where they disposed of the body, the woman said.


“It was wrapped in a shower curtain and blankets,” she said.


Janesville police detective Erik Goth testified the body was found March 13, 2007, in a muddy area of Riverside Park.


A pipe was found nearby, he said.


Hester’s body appeared to be beaten in the face, Goth said.


Video recorded at a gas station near the park shows Williams was in Janesville around the time the body was dumped, he said.


Rockford police arrested Williams two days later, but he was acquitted of homicide after a jury trial.


Defense attorney Joshua Klaff asked for the charges to be dismissed, saying the woman’s testimony was not credible.


The prosecutor, Gerald Urbik, said the woman was scared and in shock after witnessing a murder.


If convicted of Rock County charges, Williams faces up to 50 years in prison.


Williams remains in the Rock County Jail on $30,000 cash bond.


He is expected to enter a plea to the charges Thursday.



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