Opening statements begin in trial of slain Lakeland Police officer

Jurors heard opening statements Friday from both sides in the trial of a man accused of killing a Lakeland Police officer. The first witness, a crime scene technician for the Lakeland Police Department, also took the stand for the state.
Kyle Daivontae Williams, 20, is charged with premeditated first-degree murder in the shooting death of Officer Arnulfo Crispin in December 2011. 
Prosecutor Paul Wallace said Friday the state will present DNA evidence linking Williams to the .40-caliber handgun used to kill Crispin.
Wallace said the state will also present evidence tying Williams to a 2011 burglary in which the gun used to kill Crispin was stolen. After Williams' arrest, the clothing and jewelry he was wearing that went into evidence included a 2003 class ring with the name "Dillon" on it. The ring was stolen at the same time the gun was taken during the burglary, Wallace told the jury.
Witnesses say a group of teens were in the Crystal Grove Lane Park in Bartow the night of Dec. 18. Crispin told them the park was closed, and according to the police report, he went to search the teens. 
"That's when Kyle raised up the handgun, and without warning, fired the shot at Officer Crispin," said Wallace. The .40-caliber bullet that went through Crispin's head was never found. He was taken to the hospital where he was taken off life support and died several days later.
Several men who were in that group are expected to testify during the trial that Williams pulled the trigger just before Crispin went to search him.
Defense attorney Byron Hileman told jurors that it was dark and there were varying reports of how many men were in the park at the time and what exactly happened. Several of the men were under the influence of drugs and the events happened very quickly, said Hileman.
The defense also said none of the four other men is charged with a crime, which calls into question whether any of them have a motive to falsify testimony. 
The trial resumes Monday morning with more state witnesses.
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