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Jury Gets Case Of Man Accused Of Killing Wife

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Cleaven Williams crime scene

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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.

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