Man convicted in slaying of Denver Broncos player
Associated Press Writer
DENVER – Suspected gang member Willie Clark was found guilty of murder Thursday in the drive-by shooting death of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams.
A jury returned the verdict after an 11-day trial and a day and a half of deliberation.
Clark faces a sentence of life in prison. There was no immediate word on a possible appeal.
Williams was killed on New Year’s Day 2007. Prosecutors said Clark fired the fatal shots from an SUV that pulled up beside a rented limo carrying Williams and some friends.
“It was this man, who indiscriminately, with universal maliciousness … took it upon himself to unload his .40-caliber handgun into that limousine full of innocent people,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Timothy Twining said in his closing argument.
Clark was angry over an altercation involving friends of Williams and friends Clark that occurred in a nightclub just before the shooting, prosecutors said. A member of Williams’ group had sprayed champagne on New Year’s partiers.
Defense attorney Abraham Hutt said Clark wasn’t even in the SUV during the shooting.
“This is what this is about: Willie Clark is a scapegoat,” Hutt told jurors.
Hutt tried to undercut the credibility of five prosecution witnesses who got shorter prison time in other cases in exchange for testifying. Hutt said the five saw their sentences reduced by a combined 188 years.
Hutt said the prosecution’s star witness, Daniel “Ponytail” Harris, faced a life sentence for a drug charge but will be released within two years. Harris testified that he saw Clark fire the shots.
Associated Press Writer Colleen Slevin contributed to this report.