Judge sets hearing date in new-trial bid by Fairfield councilman’s killer

By From page A3 | June 11, 2014

Henry Don Williams

Henry Don Williams

FAIRFIELD — The next step in the effort by the killer of Fairfield City Councilman Matt Garcia to get his conviction overturned was scheduled Tuesday.

Judge Robert Bowers scheduled an Aug. 15 hearing for Henry D. Williams, who claims his 2010 jury trial was tainted by juror misconduct.

Williams shot and killed Garcia on the night of Sept. 1, 2008, in a drunken case of mistaken identity. Williams and an accomplice were looking for a methamphetamine dealer who had ripped off the accomplice for $50 earlier in the day. Williams mistook Garcia for the dealer and fired several shots at him.

Williams claimed in 2012 that a juror approached his wife in the courthouse hallway during a break in the 2010 jury trial and began talking with her in a conversation that eventually included the juror offering to trade his vote for sex. The juror acknowledges having a brief conversation with Williams’ wife, but denies anything other than pleasantries were exchanged.

Williams was found guilty of first-degree murder and was later sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

The Court of Appeal in October 2013 ordered the local courts to conduct a hearing on Williams’ claims. Since then, Williams invoked and then revoked his legal right to act as his own attorney, maneuvers that created months of delays that frustrated Garcia’s family.

Prosecutors say Williams’ claims are baseless.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 5 comments

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  • solano's shameJune 11, 2014 - 12:43 am

    Come to the Courthouse on any day and you will see the Jurors sitting in the hallways talking, laughing and talking to everyone and anyone. If we had better judges they would instruct the jurors to wait in the jury room, not to speak to anyone and stay inside the jury room until called to the courtroom. Solano judges are not wise enough to follow this time proven protocol. Shame on them.

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  • Mr. PracticalJune 11, 2014 - 6:02 am

    This is nothing but a feeble, by-the-book attempt by Williams to delay the process. Unless there is evidence we're not hearing about, it's a simple he said, she said case. He cannot prove tampering. The worst part is Matt's family having to deal with this crap.

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  • Bill of RightsJune 11, 2014 - 6:31 am

    This is BS! Re-victimize the family, costly to taxpayers, and the only evidence comes from the defendants lying wife, who will do ANYTHING to free her killer man! Come on Solano County judges, grow a backbone and make the right decision! This decision should have already been made! Denied!

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  • P.J.June 11, 2014 - 7:47 am

    I'm a friend of Matt's grandmother. She said long ago that when she saw that the jury had the ability to talk to anyone out in the hall she was shocked and felt then that something like this would happen.To me, this is like spiting in the family's eyes. Right....the jury should not be allowed to mingle with others.

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  • 2realJune 11, 2014 - 7:48 am

    So if his appeal gets denied,... can he appeal that his appeal got denied? What a joke.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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