Outbursts help man’s case

Published 8:06 pm Monday, January 24, 2011

Repeated outbursts by a defendant usually don’t work in his favor in court, but it was a different story Monday.

Gary Williams, who is accused of attacking a guard at Western Tidewater Regional Jail, interrupted his own attorney numerous times in Suffolk Circuit Court to object to her argument that he was incompetent to stand trial. In the end, his interruptions helped prove his competency to Judge Carl E. Eason Jr.

“I don’t know if he’s smart enough to understand,” his attorney, Rebecca Colaw, told Eason. The remark prompted Williams to shake his head.

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Williams himself has filed a number of documents in his own case — many of them attempts to dismiss Colaw as his attorney.

According to one document, he allegedly assaulted the guard to “catch a serious charge” so that he could get into a courtroom and expose wrongdoing by law enforcement officers in general.

It worked — he now is charged with aggravated malicious wounding, malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer and shoot, stab, cut or wound.

Colaw argued that Williams does not understand the proceedings and that a court-appointed psychiatrist did not conduct a full evaluation before determining that he is competent to stand trial.

Williams punctuated his attorney’s arguments by numerous objections and interruptions, even standing up out of his chair one time before being ordered to sit down by sheriff’s deputies.

Judge Eason silenced Williams’ outbursts each time, but in the end remarked that even the interruptions — along with Williams’ filings — showed a knowledge of how the system works.

“All the evidence in front of me is that he is competent to stand trial,” Eason said. “He knows exactly how to navigate the system.”

Eason scheduled a day to consider Williams’ court filings.

“Mr. Williams, you’re going to get your day,” Eason said. “All of the motions you have filed will be heard on Feb. 4.”

Williams’ response — “God bless you.”