MARIANNA, Fla. – Wesley Jonathan Williams was indicted Thursday on four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend, their two young sons, and the woman’s infant son by another man.
An indictment handed down by a Jackson County grand jury early Thursday afternoon accuses Williams of committing or causing the murders to take place. A trial date has not been set, and authorities have not decided whether to seek the death penalty in the event of a conviction.
Williams, 23, is charged with shooting 19-year-old Athenia Danielle Baker to death, or that he “did aid, abet, counsel, hire or otherwise procure such offense,” according to the indictment.
The same language was used in the jury’s presentment regarding the children. He is accused of placing duct tape over the mouths and noses of his sons, 1-year-old Amarion Deontae Baker, and 3-year-old Ahmaad Dominique Baker, and of infant Aaron Urion Baker, or of participating in some way in those offenses.
Williams has several times been identified as the father of the two older children. Authorities have said more than once that he is not the father of the three-week-old baby. Officials have not publicly identified the father of the third child.
The victims were found dead in their residence at Cottondale Village Apartments on March 17, 2005. Ms. Baker’s body was found near the kitchen of the home, the boys’ in another area of the dwelling. Baker’s two-year-old daughter was found apparently unharmed inside the apartment when the bodies were discovered. She has since been placed in the care of other relatives.
Marianna Police Chief Lou Roberts and MPD investigator Virgil Watson, who is the case agent in the matter, both say they are confident that Williams was the actual gunman in Baker’s death and was directly responsible for the children’s asphyxiation deaths.
In addition to the four first-degree murder charges, the jury leveled three counts of aggravated child abuse in the case, writing in their presentment that they believe Baker committed that offense by “willfully torturing (the children).”
State Attorney Steve Meadows would not speculate as to whether he believes anyone else was involved in the murders, but said the indictment “does not preclude” charges being filed against additional defendants “if evidence in the future suggests” that more than one person is involved.
Williams is currently serving a five-year sentence at the Gulf Correctional Institution in Wewahitcha on an unrelated charge of aggravated battery. His arraignment date in the murder cases has not yet been set. He will be transferred to Marianna to face those charges, Meadows said.
According to Tommy Ford of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the quadruple murder spurred one of the most massive investigations ever undertaken in that region of the state.
More than 1,000 pieces of evidence were collected and several crime labs were used in processing the material.
Baker’s father, Lavon Baker, could not be reached for comment on the case, but Roberts said he had been notified of the grand jury’s decision.
The 12-member panel began deliberating the case shortly after the noon hour Thursday, and presented findings before 2:30 p.m. Law enforcement officials and civilians started presenting testimony around 9 a.m. Wednesday.