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Testimony turns to youngest Travis Dairy murder suspect

new travis dairy composite

Suspects in the fatal robbery at Travis Dairy in Fairfield include, left to right, Dezmon Frazier, James A. Young, Osis Smith, Chelsea Johnson and James E. Williamson. (Daily Republic photos)

By
From page A3 | December 12, 2012 |

FAIRFIELD — A second day of slow-moving testimony took place in the probable cause hearing for five young suspects facing murder and robbery charges for the June 2011 death of the elderly owner of the Travis Dairy.

James E. Williamson, 16, James Young, Osis “O Money” Smith, Dezmon “Young D” Frazier, each 18, and 19-year-old Chelsea Johnson have pleaded not guilty. They are all being prosecuted as adults.

The doctor who performed the autopsy on 70-year-old Ho Kim returned to the witness stand Tuesday for a second day of testimony about the evidence of Kim being assaulted during the robbery and his death from a heart condition shortly after the robbery, which netted the suspects $60 and several packs of Newport cigarettes. The previous day, Dr. Susan Hogan said Kim had “literally been scared to death” by the assault that had included being doused with pepper spray.

After Hogan’s testimony, the focus of much of the witness testimony was on Williamson, the youngest of the suspects.

At previous court hearings police said it was Williamson, then 15, who had cased the store before the robbery, buying something before leaving the store and giving an OK signal before going back inside with three 17-year-old boys including his older brother, James A. Young, who led the group into the store, according to testimony at the hearing. Williamson had broken the cash register trying to get to the $60 in the till before another of the teens decided just to take the register with them along with video surveillance equipment.

Williamson’s defense attorney, John Coffer, referred to his client repeatedly as “this 15-year-old kid” as he tried Tuesday to block his client’s damning statements to police during an interview a week after the robbery.

Video surveillance cameras from nearby businesses recorded Williamson near the crime scene near the time of the robbery. Police went to his Kentucky Street home and his response to an investigator’s open-ended question about why he thought police wanted to talk to him was to answer, “Travis Dairy.”

Coffer said Williamson had been the victim of a very coercive police environment during the interview that led to the arrests of all five suspects. At one point in the interview, Williamson tells an investigator that he wants to go home. The investigator responds by telling him he is under arrest for murder. Since then Williamson’s home has been the Solano County juvenile hall.

Judge Donna Stashyn will likely rule on Coffer’s request when the probable cause hearing continues Wednesday.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. 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.
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