Mom calls for death penalty in girl’s abuse

July 31, 2005 

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Mom calls for death penalty in girl’s abuse

Talia Williams’ father and stepmother both deserve that fate, her natural mother says

By Debra Barayuga

Tarshia Williams has a wish for the man who fathered her only child and stands accused of beating the 5-year-old girl almost daily, causing her death on July 16.


Talia Williams: Her natural mother said she had been doing well in December

“I would tell him, I wish he was dead,” said a grieving Williams, of Orangeburg, S.C., the natural mother of Talia Emoni Williams. “I wish he gets the death penalty and capital punishment, because my daughter didn’t deserve it.”

Army Spc. Naeem Williams, 25, also of Orangeburg but stationed here at Schofield Barracks, was charged Wednesday with murder, conspiracy, making a false official statement, aggravated assault, assault upon a child and obstruction of justice.

He has admitted to beating the child with a belt and with a closed fist almost daily since March, calling it “discipline.”

Army officials say Williams faces life imprisonment if convicted. He is not facing the death penalty because he was charged under a specific section of Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that does not call for capital punishment. That section applies to a person who “intends to kill or inflict bodily harm” — a charge equivalent to second-degree murder in civilian courts.

The girl’s stepmother, Delilah S. Williams, 21, was charged earlier with first-degree murder in U.S. District Court for causing the girl’s death “as part of a pattern of practice of assault and torture.”

Federal prosecutors will not say if they intend to try her case as a death penalty case. Tarshia Williams says Delilah Williams should face the same fate as her husband. “Both should get the death penalty.”


Naeem Williams: He admitted beating girl almost daily since March as “discipline”

Federal prosecutors have described the daily abuse inflicted on the girl since March as “the stuff of nightmares.” They allege that the parents decided not to send Talia to relatives on the mainland until her bruises disappeared and hair missing on her head grew back.

Naeem Williams’ military attorney, Maj. John Hyatt, has declined comment on the case. Delilah Williams’ federal defender has said she was also abused by her husband and had repeatedly sought assistance from the Army, friends and family to put a stop to the beatings and to leave her husband.

Williams told investigators her husband struck the girl twice on July 16 after she had soiled herself. The second time, the girl fell and hit her head, losing consciousness. She said they delayed calling for medical help because she was afraid police would take away the couple’s 4-month-old daughter.

Tarshia Williams said she is devastated, sad and angry over the death of her daughter, whom she last saw in December. “She was doing great, she was happy, she was joyful — she was just being a little girl.”

Although the girl’s father was awarded custody that month, the plan approved by the courts said her daughter was to stay with her mother in South Carolina every summer beginning July 1.

But when July came around, the girl’s father still hadn’t sent the girl home.

“They had her bruised up, so they didn’t send her,” Williams said, citing reports of the girl’s abuse. “I just can’t believe they did all of that.”


Delilah S. Williams: Her defense says that her cries for help for abuse were ignored

If they didn’t want her daughter, they could have sent her back, she said. “I would have been glad to take her back.”

The courts had placed the girl in her father’s custody in part because she exhibited developmental delays and a failure to thrive while with her mother. Glenn Walters, Williams’ attorney, said the girl didn’t have a healthy appetite and her body didn’t absorb nutrients effectively. But her condition continued even while with her father, Walters said.

Tarshia Williams said a court order was in also place allowing her to phone her daughter twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays. But those calls eventually stopped. She filed papers in court to regain her court-ordered rights, but the matter is still pending.

In a phone conversation before the calls stopped altogether, her daughter told her that she was going to get a beating because she had wet her clothes, Williams said. Delilah Williams allegedly snatched the phone away, preventing her from saying more.

Walters said the state and the U.S. Army must be held accountable for the girl’s death and hopes that preventive measures are put in place so that this never happens to another child. He is expected to file a lawsuit shortly.


Tarshia Williams: Says her child was kept from saying more about her abuse

Walters said complaints were filed by neighbors, the day care Talia attended and a relative of Delilah Williams, and that the record shows the failure of the state and military to properly investigate instances of abuse against the girl.

Army and state officials have defended their actions, saying their response was based on the information available.

Tarshia Williams, who has filed papers to serve as representative of her daughter’s estate, said all she wants at this time is to have her daughter returned to Orangeburg so she can have a proper burial.

The defense for Naeem Williams apparently has filed a motion to have their own expert examine the girl, delaying her return home, Walters said.

Talia Williams: Her natural mother said she had been doing well in December

Naeem Williams: He admitted beating girl almost daily since March as “discipline”

Delilah S. Williams: Her defense says that her cries for help for abuse were ignored

Tarshia Williams: Says her child was kept from saying more about her abuse

Mom calls for death penalty in girl’s abuse

Talia Williams’ father and stepmother both deserve that fate, her natural mother says

State told of abuse week before girl died

July 26, 2005 

Posted on: Tuesday, July 26, 2005

State heard of abuse week before girl died

Advertiser Staff Writers

A relative of 5-year-old Talia Williams told state child welfare officials that the girl was being abused a week before her death, but officials said yesterday that they could not intervene because the report lacked enough information to locate the child.

Chasidy Taijeron, a cousin of the child’s stepmother, Delilah Williams, told The Advertiser that she spoke to a social worker by phone on or about July 8.

Taijeron said she made the call – anonymously – after her cousin repeatedly told her in telephone conversations that Talia was being beaten almost every day by her father, Naeem Williams, for wetting herself.

“This could have been prevented,” Taijeron said yesterday.

But Derick Dahilig, spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, said that intake workers were given Talia’s name, but not an address or a phone number and they were not told Talia lived on a military installation.

Although Taijeron provided the child’s name, Dahilig said her account of the alleged abuse was much less severe. The report, he said, was that the girl’s stepmother would swear at her and sometimes force her to sleep on the floor.

Taijeron was supposed to call back with additional information but did not, Dahilig said.

Another problem, Dahilig said, was that the state was told the child’s last name as “William” instead of “Williams.”

Dahilig said DHS tried to locate the child by running variations of the name through two department databases: one for children in protective foster custody and another for families applying for various forms of state assistance. Nothing turned up, he said.

“We tried to do everything possible,” Dahilig said. “In order for us to assign this for an investigation, we need some place to start.”

Taijeron, a 22-year-old pre-school teacher and childcare provider from Killeen, Texas, rejected the state’s explanation, saying, “That is a lie.”

She said she provided human services with the names of the child, her stepmother and father, and the branch of the military in which he served. She said she did not provide them with a phone number because one was not requested.

Previously, DHS said it had received no reports in the case, and launched an investigation about whether the military had failed to notify the state of abuse allegations the Army received.


Delilah Williams was charged with murder in connection with Talia’s death. Talia’s father, Naeem Williams, who is a Schofield Barracks soldier, is being held by military authorities in “pretrial confinement.” Talia was taken to the hospital July 16 after emergency medical personnel were called to the family’s Wheeler Army Airfield apartment and found her unresponsive. She was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.

Talia’s death came after what has been described as months of daily beatings, and her body was removed from a blood-spattered apartment.

Taijeron said she told DHS that she could hear Talia “screaming” in the background during her telephone conversations with Delilah Williams.

“If they did something about this, my cousin would have been put in child abuse counseling, not charged with capital murder,” said Taijeron in a telephone interview. “I didn’t want my cousin Delilah to get thrown in jail and have her 4-month-old baby taken away from her.”

After learning on July 17 that Talia was dead, Taijeron said she spoke with the supervisor of the social worker she originally contacted and was told “they did not act because the information I gave was inaccurate.”

The cousin never saw Talia get hit, and declined to comment whether Delilah Williams had said she beat the child.

State human services officials spent two hours yesterday piecing together what happened. The fact that the call was originally anonymous was not a factor, DHS said.

Lillian Koller, director of the department, said she was surprised to learn an anonymous complaint had been made.

“She must feel horrible,” Koller said of Taijeron. “If she made the call, then she called before this horrible, horrible thing happened to this child. She was the one who could have provided the information which could have caused this to be prevented.”

State social workers were unable to respond because Taijeron did not call back, Koller said.

Taijeron said that Delilah Williams worked as a program coordinator in the administration office of the Directorate of Community Activities’ Child and Youth Registration Office, a youth activities program operated by the military. The Army yesterday said she did not have direct contact with children. The Army did not say anything else about the nature of her position.


A detention hearing for Delilah Williams is scheduled for today in U.S. District Court.

Her court-appointed attorney, Alexander Silvert, said he plans to complain to the court about what he called his lack of access to military witnesses. Silvert said when he attempted to contact potential witnesses, he had been told to direct all questions to the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division.

“We’re cut off before we can get them,” he said yesterday. “I’m sure the U.S. attorney has nothing to do with it, but if the military is doing it, it would be a concern. No one has the right to tell a witness not to speak with attorneys. It is one thing if they choose not to talk to us, but if they are not talking because they’re ordered not to talk to us, that’s another issue.”

Silvert said he has no proof that the Army is ordering witnesses not to speak with him.

In an e-mailed statement, the Army did not address Silvert’s complaint about access to witnesses. However, the Army said that it did not provide information to an official from the federal public defender’s office who went to Schofield on July 22 requesting information about the case.

“It is a matter of policy that we do not provide copies of ongoing criminal investigations until the records are public record,” said Maj. Stacy Bathrick, spokeswoman for the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and U.S. Army, Hawai’i, in an e-mail. “The appropriate process for the Public Defender to request information pertaining to the case is to submit a request in federal court.”


Army violated agreement with state in child abuse case

July 21, 2005

Possible Army-State Agreement Violation In Child Abuse Case

Army Wants To Work On Child Abuse Prevention

POSTED: 6:10 pm HST July 21, 2005
UPDATED: 6:43 pm HST July 21, 2005

HONOLULU — The Army may have violated an agreement with the state about child abuse investigations in the death of Talia Williams, 5, KITV 4 News has learned. She allegedly died from abuse at the hands of her father and stepmother.

The case now has the Army taking a more public role in advocating child abuse prevention in Hawaii.

Neighbors twice complained about possible child abuse at the Williams home leading up to the girl’s death on Saturday, sources told KITV 4 News.

Military Police went to the house once, but couldn’t confirm abuse, officials said.

The couple was sent to counseling after the second complaint. Talia’s stepmother, Delilah Williams, also sought Army marriage counseling, sources said.

Talia’s father, Naeem, and her stepmother admitted to beating the child, officials said.

The Army has an agreement to inform the state about any child abuse investigations, but the state said it did not happen with the Williamses.

“I really can’t comment; I really don’t know. I can’t say at this point. There is a very aggressive investigation into the specifics on this case,” Col. Chuck Callahan said.

The case has prompted the Army to take a more public role in raising the awareness of the child abuse problem in Hawaii.

“Part of it is my being here today. The Army’s response is that we’re very committed to supporting these young families, young soldiers that we’re asking to do very difficult things a long way from their home,” Blueprint For Change Executive Director Lydia Hemmings said.

“Support them as they learn to develop as parents and as young married couples and to take care of their children,” Callahan said.

Representatives of the Army’s Family Advocacy Program are working with a handful of community agencies to develop a broad response to prevent child abuse.

The Army has, not yet charged Naeem Williams.

A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday for Delilah Williams. Her lawyer said there is another side to her story.