Walker County judge declares mistrial after Graysville man on trial for armed robbery shoots himself
on February 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM, updated February 20, 2013 at 1:41 PM
JASPER, Alabama – A Walker County judge declared a mistrial after a Graysville man facing robbery and assault charges shot himself in the head during a midday court recess Tuesday.
Daniel Lavale Williams, 27, shot himself with a handgun about 12 p.m. Jasper police responded to a report of gunshots at a Jasper cemetery off Highway 269. Williams died after being airlifted to UAB Hospital, according to Jasper Police Capt. Larry Cantrell.
Williams’ girlfriend, who was with him in the cemetery, is cooperating with police in an ongoing investigation of the shooting, Cantrell said.
“At this time we don’t expect anything other than what it looks like, we just want to make 100 percent sure,” Cantrell said.
About 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Walker County Circuit Court Judge Jerry Selman addressed the jurors, who were prepared to begin deliberations in the case, and declared a mistrial, said Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair.
The attorneys had delivered their closing arguments before the court adjourned for lunch.
Williams was standing trial on charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling while armed, second degree assault, shooting into an occupied dwelling and three counts of armed robbery.
He has four co-defendants, one of whom testified against Williams and was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty. The others are set to appear in court in the next few months, Adair said.
“I don’t want it to get lost in this tragedy what these victims have been through,” Adair said. “Three people were robbed at gunpoint and pistol-whipped, and a child who suffered from spina bifida, they hit her and took her mp3 player. I don’t want that to get lost.”
Williams apologized to one of the victims after court adjourned for lunch, according to a report in the Daily Mountain Eagle.
According to court records, Williams and four other men broke into an Argo home on Dec. 29, 2007, where they robbed and pistol-whipped three women. As the men fled after the robbery, one of them shot into a nearby home, hitting a man in the chin as he was getting ready for work, Adair said.
All four victims survived after being treated at area hospitals.
At the time of the robberies, it was reported that the Walker County sheriff’s department, Jefferson County sheriff’s department and Adamsville police officers collaborated to arrest the suspects.
The emotional nature of the case and its conclusion emphasize the importance of courthouse security, Adair said.
“I applaud the courthouse security that we had, that they’re doing the best that they can with what they’ve been supplied,” he said. “I commend Judge Selman, who’s attempting to get security, but I’m very tired of risking my own life and the lives of my employees and the victims’ lives in these trials.”