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No Second Chance
Denver District Judge Christina Habas turned down the request Tuesday from Willie Clark, saying defense attorneys failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify a new trial.
A jury convicted Clark of first-degree murder in Williams’ death on New Year’s Day 2007, after both men had left the same night club. Clark faces a life sentence at a hearing set for Friday.
Clark was also convicted of attempted murder and assault charges in the attack that injured two others. Several people are expected to speak at Clark’s sentencing hearing.
Clark’s lawyer, Darren Cantor, alleged in court filings that some jurors discussed the murder case before deliberations and visited a scene described by a witness, and that a dismissed juror sent a text message to another during deliberations, all in violation of the judge’s orders.
Prosecutors disputed those claims and were concerned that a hearing on the matter could not take place before Friday’s sentencing hearing. Chief Deputy District Attorney Tim Twining on Monday asked Habas for time to examine the defense’s allegations and prepare a challenge.
That request was rendered moot by Habas’ ruling Tuesday declining the defense request for a new trial.
Cantor did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The Denver District Attorney’s Office said they are prepared for Friday’s sentencing hearing as scheduled.
Prosecutors say Clark lived in a gang culture where an insult was enough to send him into a murderous rage. Williams and the others in his group had just left a nightclub where they got into an altercation with a group that included Clark, a suspected gang member.
The altercation started as an entourage of Broncos players entered a nightclub and escalated when a member of Williams’ group sprayed champagne on New Year’s partiers, prosecutors said.
Witnesses during the trial testified that Clark desperately searched for a gun, hopped into an SUV to catch up with a limousine carrying Williams, and then fired the deadly shots.