Judge denies motion for new trial

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

A Letcher County woman will stay in prison, for now, after a Letcher County judge denied a motion for a new trial due to ineffective counsel.

In April of 2005, Kathy Walters Williams was convicted by a jury of murdering Forrester Caudill, and she was sentenced to life in prison.

Kathy Walters Williams walked into the Letcher County Circuit Courtroom in chains.

She is claiming that she had ineffective counsel at her trial.

"Yes, I am a part of the Department of Public Advocacy, but my department failed Mrs. Williams at trial, and that's why we are here today. We are here to correct wrongs," said Attorney Joshua McWilliams with the Post Conviction Branch.

McWilliams argued three points. First, that there were other witnesses that could have been called. Second, that the defense of extreme emotional disturbance was not explored. And finally, that there was cumulative error throughout the trial.

The defense attorneys say these arguments could have changed Williams' conviction or sentence.

"The first time she was in court when she was sentenced to life, I don't think she was represented fairly," said Williams' son Phillip Muniz.

He took the stand on Friday, but says he was not asked to testify at the trial.

He says his mother should not be serving a life sentence.

Letcher County Circuit Judge Sam Wright denied the motion.

"This attack on the counsel that represented the defendant, their record and reputation was upheld. And the courts specifically found that they did do an adequate representation, and they did do their jobs," said Commonwealth's Attorney Edison Banks.

Williams returned to prison after the hearing to finish her life sentence.

The defense attorneys would not comment about whether they would appeal, but in court they mentioned they were planning for a federal appeal.

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