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Man gets prison time for hiding murder victim in Janesville

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Ted Sullivan
April 15, 2010
— A Rockford, Ill., man sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison for kidnapping his ex-girlfriend and forcing her to help hide a body in Janesville claims heís innocent and plans to appeal.

Raymond C. Williams, 40, was sentenced in Rock County Court for the felony charges of kidnapping and hiding a corpse.


Williams is suspected of murdering Travel Hester, 27, in Rockford in March 2007 and then forcing his ex-girlfriend to help hide Hesterís body in Janesvilleís Riverside Park.


A jury in Winnebago County, Ill., acquitted Williams of homicide. A jury in Rock County convicted Williams after a five-day trial.


Williams said in court Wednesday he never met Hester and is bitter because the Wisconsin justice system has convicted him. He said he is not remorseful because he didnít commit the crime.


Linda Evans Williams spoke on Williamsí behalf, saying Williamsí ex-girlfriend and another man killed Hester. She said no evidence exists against Williams.


ďI know that heís innocent,Ē she said.


She later interrupted court and left in the middle of the hearing when a bailiff approached her.


Assistant District Attorney Gerald Urbik said the woman has adopted a paranoid conspiracy theory. He said she also has harassed court officials.


Urbik said the woman filed an ethics complaint against him, accusing him of bribing a witness. He has been exonerated.


Judge Richard Werner said the evidence against Williams is overwhelming.


Prosecutors said Williamsí ex-girlfriend was with her new boyfriend, Hester, at home when Williams came over.


Williams beat Hester to death with a pipe, prosecutors said.


Williams forced the woman to help clean the murder scene, prosecutors said, and the two were seen on video in a store buying cleaning supplies.


Williams forced the woman to help him dump the body in Riverside Park, prosecutors said.


The two put Hesterís body in a shower curtain, and Williams bought a new shower curtain, prosecutors said. Williamsí fingerprint was found on the new curtain.


Williams stopped at a Janesville gas station after hiding the body, prosecutors said. He was seen on surveillance video.


Williamsí fingerprint and Hesterís blood also were found on Hesterís shoe, prosecutors said.


Williamsí case wasnít properly prosecuted in Illinois, Urbik said.


Hesterís mother, Venita Hester, said losing her son has messed up her life.


ďWhy did it have to end in violence and death?Ē she said.


Williamsí ex-girlfriend said she remains traumatized.


ďItís a sick thought to think that, to this day, he still thinks he did nothing wrong,Ē she said.



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