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Eyewitnesses scarce in Williams murder case

9-17-2014 Florida:

The 46-year-old Eastpoint man charged in the bludgeoning death May 10 of a known sexual predator has said he doesn’t recall striking the victim with an axe handle, and so far there are few individuals at the scene that night willing to come forward to say he did.

Bobby J. Bullock, Jr. faces second degree murder charges in the death of Norman Bill Williams, 59, which police say took place sometime before 8:30 p.m. at a house on Washington Street.

An autopsy report from Dr. Lisa M. Flannagan, with the medical examiner’s office, said she found “blunt force trauma and hemorrhage. It appears that (Williams) was struck by a very significant impact near the base of the skull near left ear. The source of hemorrhage in this area is often difficult to locate.”

Bullock was in court last week on an unrelated felony charge of child abuse dating back to Sept. 2013. Nan Weaver, spokeswoman for the Office of Criminal Conflict & Civil Regional Counsel for the First District Court of Appeals Region, said Bullock’s attorney, Thomas Cassidy, from Port St. Joe, had sought a plea agreement to reduce the charge to misdemeanor domestic battery, with the punishment time served of about nine months.

Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford at first refused to accept it, but Assistant State Attorney Jared Patterson plans to file the lesser charge for consideration by the judge in November, Weaver said.

At that time, proceedings are expected to begin in the murder case, although a possible trial is still months away. “We plan to perform a rigorous defense at trial on the behalf of Mr. Bullock,” said Cassidy.

Deputy Jamie Shiver, first to arrive at the scene about 8:23 p.m., found emergency medical technicians administering CPR to Williams, who was later pronounced dead at Weems Memorial Hospital.

While Shiver’s report indicates several individuals at the home that night believe Bullock struck Williams with an axe handle, only one 14-year-old has come forward to say he actually witnessed the apparent slaying.

The boy said he saw Williams arguing with David Holstein, husband of his grandmother Sarah Vinson, who they call Nupi, The boy said Holstein was ordering Williams to leave because he had groped Angela Law, known as “Shortly.”

The boy told police Bullock walked up behind Williams and struck him with an axe handle. He then “staggered a short distance and fell over a grill onto the ground,” said the boy.

A half hour later, the boy told the deputy he checked Williams for a pulse and could not detect one. The deputy said permission for the interview was granted by the boy’s mother.

Holstein told police that in addition to groping Law, Williams had “become aggressive towards people at the home.” He said he ordered Williams to leave, but he refused. Holstein said he went inside the house, and when he returned a little later, he found Williams collapsed on the ground near an overturned grill. He told the deputy he did not know what had happened.

Law told police Williams had grabbed her “butt, breast and vagina are on top of her clothing.” She said Holstein and Williams began arguing, and she went inside to tell Sarah Vinson “that Bill needs to be made to leave.” Law said that when she walked back outside and saw Williams on the ground. “She knows Bullock hit Bill in the head,” wrote Shiver. “But did not see it happen.”

Philip Vinson told police he was inside Sarah Vinson’s home when the incident occurred, and that “he is not going to lie like everyone else is coaching each other to do. He is going to tell the truth because someone died.”

Vinson said that while he did not witness Bullock hitting Williams, “he is basing his account of events on what he could hear taking place, and what others have said while coaching each other to lie. Witnesses have said they are lying because (Law) is on probation and is afraid she will be violated for being around alcohol.”

Sarah Vinson said she watched from a window “but is not going to make a truthful statement because she is afraid press coverage will affect her rental income.”

Bullock’s sister, Sheila Monroe told police said she was at home on Shuler Street when her brother came by around 9 p.m. and said he was in a fight with Williams. Monroe said people told her Bullock had hit Williams in the head with an axe handle but “she does not believe her brother would kill someone intentionally,” according to the police report.

“She has also been made aware that Williams had been tormenting Bullock for the past two days. Williams was telling Bullock that he raped his mother and grandmother years ago and Bullock was powerless to stop it,” Shiver wrote. “Monroe feels this may have played a part in the incident, however she does not know if it did.”

Charlie Goodwin said he did not see the incident but was told Bullock struck Williams with an axe. Goodwin led Shiver to an area where he has an axe stored and identified it as having been used by Bullock to strike Williams. Goodwin also provided a second axe that he said “had nothing to do with the killing.” Goodwin refused to explain how he was able to identify the axe used, wrote the deputy.

Ruby Rutherford said she was at Sarah Vinson’s home with other witnesses, when she saw Williams playing cards and sitting along with everyone. Williams was eating a plate of spaghetti at about 7:50 p.m. when Rutherford went to the store, she told the deputy, and when she returned about 20 to 30 minutes later, she found Williams dead on the front lawn. Both Law and Holstein said Bullock had hit Williams and fled. She was also told by witnesses that Williams had fell over a grill.

Bullock said after Williams refused to leave, and began cussing at Holstein, he walked up and hit him, “but does not remember hitting him with an axe handle. (He) said he believes he only hit him with a closed fist, due to his wrist being swollen now.”

Bullock told the deputy he thought he had knocked Williams unconscious and had no idea he was dead. He said he then went to Monroe’s house, where he remained until deputies came to question him.

Williams attracted widespread media attention in Sept. 2011, when he fled the woods outside Eastpoint after being released there from a stint in state prison. Because he was a sexual predator who was shunned by his family, Williams had no place else he could legally stay, so probation officials placed a tracker on Williams' leg and told him to remain in the woods. He shed the device, and fled.

Two weeks later he was apprehended in Lafourche Parish, a fishing village in southwest Louisiana. At that time, Williams had an extensive criminal history, with numerous arrests stretching over several counties in Florida, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. Prior arrests were for such crimes as armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, larceny, burglary, grand theft auto and drug possession.

After serving more than two years for failure to register as a sexual offender, Williams was released earlier this year to a residence in Tallahassee. He returned to Franklin County the week prior to his murder, and registered May 10 as a sexual predator here, with an address of 407 U.S 98 in Eastpoint. ..Source.. by DAVID ADLERSTEIN

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