Sentencing phase for Kyle Williams, convicted in murder of Lakeland police officer Arnulfo Crispin

BARTOW, Fla. - A Polk County jury listened to impact statements Monday to determine a sentence for Kyle Williams, who was found guilty in the 2011 murder of a Lakeland police officer, Arnunfo Crispin..

Testimony wrapped up around 2:30 p.m.

The jury heard from family members and others for more than five hours.

"There is not a day I don't think about Arnulfo and his love," said Brenda Crispin, Arnunfo's sister.

With tears flowing, she explained to the jury her family's torment and anguish over his loss. Her brother was murdered on her son's birthday.

"For JJ's birthday now I always remind him of how Arnulfo loved him. He was taken on his birthday and it breaks my heart to watch my son stare at his photo," she said.

The state called Williams a gang member who was a member of a gang called the Baby Soldiers.

Monday was the last chance for the defense to try and spare Williams' life.

Three of his former teachers took the stand to talk about his character and personality.

"He stood out in my mind because he always came in my room each day with good morning Mrs. Smith, how are you?" Said Michelle Smith, who works at Lakeland High School.

Another teacher, Grace Ford, said she visited him in jail as many as ten times.

"I visited him because I care about him," she said. "He has good inside of him," she told the jury.

Williams' mother described her son as a responsible person who paid for his own phone and helped pay the family's bills.

Williams chose not to take the stand.

The jury will hear closing arguments beginning at 9.a.m. Tuesday before deciding whether Williams should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in prison.

Jurors found 21-year-old Williams guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting of Officer Crispin.

Deliberations were well into a second day when the panel reached its decision.about 4:30 p.m. Deliberations lasted more than 14 hours.

"Justice has been done," said Frankie Crispin, Arnulfo Crispin's brother. "Now the next phase is to give him the death penalty or life in prison."

Frankie Crispin said he made eye contact with Williams during the trial.

"I was expecting to see some type of remorse," he said. "But actually what I got was a smirk on his face and a smile as if he was taunting, like, 'I'm gonna get away with this.' It was shocking to me because there was no remorse."

The family wants Williams to receive the death penalty.

"If the death penalty is given then that will be some closure for us," he said. "Obviously things will never be the same. My brother won't be back with us, but that's what all of us as a family are hoping for."

Jurors started deliberating just before noon Wednesday and were sequestered in a hotel Wednesday night.

Late Thursday afternoon, the judge sent a note to the jurors asking them if they anticipate the need for dinner and hotel accommodations again for the night.

The jury responded that a verdict had been reached.

The panel determined that Williams shot and killed Officer Crispin in December 2011 during a routine pat down in a Lakeland park.

Previous story:

After eight hours of deliberation on Wednesday, jurors adjourned for the night and reconvened 9 a.m. Thursday. They were sequestered in a hotel without televisions, radios or any other means to receive outside information about the case.

Around 5 p.m. Wednesday -- nearly five hours into deliberations -- the jury came forward with a question for the judge.

"The question is we feel the photos and maps are difficult to determine the appropriate positioning and distance. Would it be possible to go to the park?" the judge said, reading the question.

He immediately said no because "it would be inappropriate."

Closing arguments wrapped up late Wednesday morning. The prosecution laid out all the evidence in some tense moments just feet from the accused killer.

"He points that gun in the most vulnerable and most exposed part of his body and pulls the trigger," said Paul Wallace, state prosecutor.

Four of Williams' friends were with him that December night when Crispin came over to do a routine pat down in a Lakeland park.

"He simply ambushes him and executes him there in front of these guys," Wallace said.

All four pointed to Williams as the shooter during two weeks of testimony.

The defense offered another theory during closing arguments, that the men concocted a plan to blame Williams.

"They all lied. They contradicted themselves and each other," said Chris Boldt, defense attorney.

Right after the judge dismissed the jury to begin deliberations, Williams' attorney stood up and told the judge his client became upset because he now wants to testify.

The day before, he struggled to make a decision on whether to take the stand but finally declined with tears in his eyes.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments