BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The trial is wrapping up for the Baltimore man charged with stabbing his wife to death on a busy downtown street.

Suzanne Collins has more on the case against Cleaven Williams.

It’s really a question of whether Cleaven Williams was guilty of first-degree murder that was premeditated or was it voluntary manslaughter?  That is the issue the jury has to decide.

Witnesses watched as Cleaven Williams, sitting on top of his wife, stabbed her repeatedly in the face and neck outside of the district court in November 2008.  Now jurors must determine if Williams was in a hot-blooded rage when he did it or if the victim provoked him.  Then jurors can find him guilty of voluntary manslaughter.  But prosecutors say he’s guilty of first-degree murder because he planned the crime and staked out his wife while she was trying to get a protective order against him.

“I think it was a tragedy.  I mean, in broad daylight, coming from court,” said one man.

The prosecutor says a note found in Williams’ car shows his intent.  It says, “I killed her” and what appears to be reasons why.

The defense lawyer argues there was no abuse and she says the victim was having an affair and all of this reasonably enraged Williams.

Manslaughter can bring a maximum 10-year sentence.  If he’s convicted of murder, he could get life in prison.

The jurors began deliberating early Tuesday afternoon.

Comments (6)
  1. Chalkie says:

    I hope if he is found guilty, they sentence him to the same death that he did to his wife!!!! Make the punishment fit the crime. Maybe if Maryland started executing murderers and rapest there would be alot less of these type of crimes going on. Capital punishment works, look at states like texas and arizona. Thier murder rates are lower then other states because they enforce the death penalty. This state has so many problems because of the weak elected officals that we have. They are more worried about renaming mountains and gay marriage, then actually taken care of the real problems this state has. O’Malley is more worried about his image then anything else. I think its time to get rid of all the idiots in office and put people in office that actually have a idea of what every middle and lower class person in this state is going through. Most of the elected officals have money and only worry about taking care of themselves and others who have money, not the people who work everyday or the people who cannot take care of themselves!!!

    1. Kristin says:

      I agree. Its ridculous

  2. Someone who cares says:

    The death penalty is a joke in MD, because we don’t use it. Our politicians are so worried about making it humane, where is the humanity in in murdering a person who can feel pain and fear. There should be a 4 year limit on appeals. If there are two or more eye witnesses to your crime, no appeals; if DNA and orther forensic evidence says you are the murderer, no appeals. In these cases death should be within a week’s time. Speed up the process. I also feel that murderers should be able to choose between firing squad, hanging, and lethal injection. Oh, televise every execution on every local channel, so that people get the message, then replay it on the digital billboards along our highways.

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