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Sacramento DA / Media / Press Release Archives / 2016 Press Release Archives / 4.5.16: Defendant Convicted in Retrial of 1999 Murder Case

Defendant Convicted in Retrial of 1999 Murder Case

DATE:  April 5, 2016

CASE:  David Earl Williams

PROSECUTOR:  Deputy District Attorney Frederick Gotha, Major Narcotics Unit

Fifty-one-year-old David Earl Williams was convicted by jury of first-degree murder.  Williams was originally convicted in 2001 of first-degree murder and his conviction was affirmed in the state appellate court. In 2012, a Federal District Court granted Williams habeas writ and ordered that he be retried.  

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on July 27, 1998, Williams came home to find his house had been burglarized.  That same morning, 21-year-old Mallory Treadwell disappeared less than a mile from Williams’ home.  Later that day, Mr. Treadwell’s body was found in an irrigation canal in Rio Linda.  He had been hogtied by a rope and a leather belt was tightly wound around his neck.  The cause of death was ligature strangulation. 

Williams was unaware he was under investigation that summer by federal authorities and the Drug Enforcement Administration for dealing large quantities of cocaine and marijuana.  On July 29, 1998, an informant working with federal agents told homicide detectives that Williams told him his home had been burglarized.  He stated Williams said he found one of the burglars in his yard, tied him to a tree, pistol whipped him, broke his neck, and disposed of the body in Rio Linda. 

When Williams’ home was searched, investigators located multiple pistols, cocaine, marijuana, and rope that was scientifically indistinguishable from the rope used to bind the victim.  Forensic analysis of items in Williams’ car and home further linked him to the killing. 

In the course of the investigation, evidence showed the victim was not involved in the burglary.  He was tragically killed by Williams in a case of mistaken identity. 

Williams faces a maximum potential sentence of 25 years to life in prison.  Sentencing is set for May 3, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department 40 before the Honorable Raoul Thorbourne.

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