2008 case finally goes to trial
Trial testimony began Tuesday in the trial of Eric Jarrod Williams in the 128th District Court.
Williams is facing third degree felony charges of indecency with a child from an alleged incident on or about June 2008. The victim was 13 years old at the time the crime was reported to have occurred. The jury will decide guilt and the punishment will be determined by Judge Courtney Arkeen.
If convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
The mother of the victim, Toni Harding, was the first to take the stand. She testified she noticed her son’’s behavior had changed and he began having problems at school and was getting into fights. Harding stated her son later told her of the alleged incidents to which she took him to the Orange Police Department to give a statement.
Harding broke down and sobbed when she told jurors her family felt forced to move from the area after the news of the allegations “got out.” The family fled for their safety.
The victim also took the stand. He is now 18 years old. At times he also broke down and cried.
However, he began his testimony by telling jurors how he met the defendant. He recalled meeting Williams at his aunt’s house. Later, the same day, the defendant reportedly asked the victim and two other teens to join him across the street in his vehicle.
The victim said Williams showed the boys pornography from a laptop computer. They all agreed to be paid for performing sexual acts on themselves while Williams also performed sexual acts on himself. At first, the victim said he was embarrassed, but when the others participated, he decided to join in.
After they were done, they went back into the house, “like nothing happened.”
Incidents such as this continued, but for the most part the victim participated in the acts alone with Williams and was paid “most” of the time. The alleged incidents stopped when Williams reportedly wanted to take the actions a step further, according to court testimony.
However, the victim stated several times, the defendant “never” touched him and he “never” touched Willams.
At one point during cross examination by the defendant’s attorney, Joe Alford, the victim became agitated and said he was embarrassed to be talking about the case in front of everybody. His eyes filled with tears.
‘I don’t even want to do this anymore,” he said. “I don’t have any reason to lie on this man. But, he didn’t have any right to do what he did.”
When asked about his statement to police and asked why it was different than what he was stating on the stand, he replied he was telling everything to the best of his ability, but that he couldn’t remember everything.
He also told the jury, Williams was a trusted person in the family since he was told them he was a police officer in Louisiana.
The victim further told jurors he didn’t tell the entire story to the officer who took the statement at OPD.
“I just told him what I wanted him to know,” he said.
The victim would later add, he sometimes would smoke marijuana with his friends while standing outside. The defendant would sometimes pick him up from outside his house and take drives with him around Orange and parts of Louisiana.
The victim stated repeatedly he was telling the truth on the stand.
“If they don’t believe me, he gots the same ways and he will do it to other people,” he said.
Court testimony is expected to continue 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Check www.therecordlive.com for details on the case and the verdict.