"Hold it Williams; move mother fucker and you're a dead man!" These were the words shouted in my face as I was being roughly pushed up against the breezeway wall of the apartment complex were I was living with my sister in Houston, Texas, on the April 28th, 1982 afternoon. The man shouting these words was a White man, in his mid-to-late 30's dressed in Western styled clothing - straw cowboy hat, checkered shirt, jeans & cowboy boots - and was pointing a nickel plated Smith & Wesson model 39 - 9mm automatic pistol in my face. I didn't know this man and thought that I was being robbed, so I dropped the ID/key case that I had in my hand which contained a little over $100 and said; " I ain't got nothing on me!" The young lady that I had been walking through the breezeway with towards her car in the parking lot; C.G. was a couple of feet away looking on, frozen, in something of a state of shock. The pistol was just inches from my face. I noticed the man's eyes drifed down to what I had dropped, so I reached up with my left hand, grabbed the barrel/frame of the pistol & twisted it away from me. I then reached up with my right hand to grab a handful of his shirt while I attempted to knee him in the groin; the fight for my life was on! We both ended up on the ground fighting for control of the pistol. I told C.G. to "Go get help!" at which time she ran back into the complex. I was 22 years old, 5'11 and about 180 lbs. fighting against a guy 6'1 and about 215 lbs, so there was a moment during the fight that he was on top, and I was on the bottom when I heard a male voice say; "What's going on down there?". Before I could reply this guy is on top of me says; "Call the police; this guy trying to shoot me!" It seemed, to me, a good way to get any potential witness out of the way which made me more fearful than I already was. I somehow, managed to turn things around so that I was on top and he was on the bottom. I used my new position to release my hold of him with my right hand - my left hand was still holding on to his pistol to keep it from pointing at me - and I reached into my right rear pocket to pull out a FIE 2-shot .38 caliber derringer that I carried solely for the purpose of self-defense. Being aware that I had a gun of my own he released his hold on his own pistol, so he could use both hands to grab me around the collar to 'flip' me over his head. I then released my own hold on his pistol to protect my head. As I rolled over on the ground and turned back towards him he was getting up off the ground with his hands hanging down directly over where the pistol was. I didn't know if he was reaching for the pistol or not, but I wasn't taking any chances because I only had 2 shots and if he got ahold of his pistol he would have had many more shots, so I pointed the deringer & pulled the trigger. The shot was deafening in the confined space of the breezeway, but I quickly re-cocked the hammer & pulled the trigger again. I wasn't sure if I hit him either shot as I was about 7 feet away and derringers aren't known for accuracy. He immediately took off out of the breezeway and ran to the parking lot on the right. I took a moment to get my eyeglasses back on, which had gotten knocked off my face during the struggle and retrieved my ID/key case. I saw his pistol on the ground so I grabbed it along with something that I thought was an ammo clip, but turned out to be a pager. I then ran to the left of the parking lot eventually leaving the complex. It was later discovered that this man had fallen out dead between a couple of parked cars in the parking lot. I had not only hit him with one shot, but I had hit him with both although one would have been a 'Minor' wound. But the greates surprise, however, was the fact that this guy turned out to be a Houston Police Detective! That evening on the 5 o'clock news broadcast in Houston, I was portrayed as some sort of a "Mad Dog Cop Killer" who was considered "Armed & Dangerous". There was a "Reward" out for my capture, how it was announced on the News it sounded like I was wanted either "Dead or Alive". I had a parole violation warrant from my home state of Minnesota and the Houston police had gotten information that I was in the city staying at my sister's apartment complex in southwest Houston. This detective was apparently at the aparment complex to scope out the place to see if I was living there, so I could be arrested by the Fugitive Squad. No one knows why he broke police procedures to approach me by himself, or why he didn't identify himself as a police officer, but it was the combination of those two things - along with an earlier inciden when I first arrived in Houston - which cost him his life...and;possible cost me mine as well!
I was arrested the next day after a so-called, 'Friend' snitched on me to the police (whether or not he collected the reward is still a mystery!). Being a Black male accused & arrested of killing a White police officer isn't a path towards a long & healthy life anywhere in America, but especially not in Texas! I was charged with Capital Murder of a Police Officer - a charge that carried the death penalty - and because I couldn't afford the $50,000 (retainer fee) that most private attorneys wanted. I was given court appoined attorneys that had practically NO experience with Capital Murder trials who would be going up agains prosecutors who had already sent scores of people to Death Row. As if that wasn't bad enough the jury was being selected was 'stacked' against me; because it was not only not a 'jury of my peers'- which is one popular misinformation (spread mainly by the media, movies & novels). They consisted of not only being an all - White jury, but they all also believed in the "Death Penalty", because if they didn't they would have been immediately dismissed. They also all held "Favorable" views of the police of which they never do anything wrong, or that they would never lie in any situation in which someone might feel the need to 'defend' themselves, and this view has not changed within 30 years. My defensive position was clearly one of 'self-defense' - I didn't know that he was a police officer before I shot him, and NONE of the witnesses who encountered the situation could say that he identified himself as a police officer. Any evidence that could have been in my favor was destroyed; the 911 tape that was related to this incident was supposedly "Erased by Mistake" despite the Court having ordered it to be preserved (nor was anyone ever held accountable for its destruction!). Evidence was suppressed; along with questions regarding the behavior of this police officer regarding his prior treatment of "People of Color" who had very unpleasant experiences when coming in contact with him along with if he followed the proper police procedures when he approached me. The "Court" refused to allow my attorneys to review any Internal Affairs files nor to question or investigate his character. In addition the prosecution and the "Court" suppressed evidence regarding what I encountered when I first arrived in Houston three months earlier.
THREE MONTHS PRIOR TO MY ARREST
A White man who identified himself as a police officer while holding a satin steel Colt Government Commander .45 caliber automatic pistol cocked in one hand while flashing what appeared to be a police badge to gain entry into my sister's apartment where I was staying. He ordered me to get on the floor spread eagled style. He then began to close the drapes over the fron windows at the front of the house, and then started to ask me about where jewelry and/or drugs were located. It was then I realized he was either not a cop or was a 'dirty' cop. When he attempted top put handcuffs on me he un-cocked the pistol. I was familiar enough about guns to know that this particular model wouldn't fire without first being cocked. I somehow managed to turn ovr on him and to take the pistol away from him, cock it & shoot him with it. I then dragged him into the kitchen to prevent himfrom bleeding further on the carpet. I got on the phone to call my sister at work to inform her of what had happened and she told me that she'd be right there ASAP. He then admitted he was no cop and the he had come to rob me before proceeding to beg me not to kill him & to let him go. I could see that he was hurt pretty badly form the gunshot, and I didn't want him to bleed to death there in the apartment, so I told him the he could leave but that if he or any of his friends ever came back to mess with me, then I wouldn't be so nice the next time. Of course, I kept his pistol & handcuffs. By the time my sister made it back to the apartment he was gone and the only evidence she saw of him ever being there was the blood on the carpet & tile floor, marks on my hands from the fight, the handcuffs & the pistol.
TRIAL & SUPPORTERS
My attorneys were able to trace this guy through hospital records for having been admitted with a gunshot wound on that day, not far from the apartment, and once they had his name they got his'background' information. This guy not only had a criminal history of posing as a police officer in order to rob people, but he was related to several active duty police officers - both his brothers & and uncle were policemen. In addition, this guy was a noted 'informant' who snitched on several people in order to lessen his own punishment for crimes and/or money and one of the guys he was most notorious/infamous for testifying against was on Death Row! The prosecutors were very familiar with this guy and they knew he was a great threat to their case against me so they pleaded, connived & threatened - successfully - to prevent his story from coming to light during my trial! My "Court" appointed attorneys tried their best, but they were so very inexperienced regarding "Death Row" cases, that they actually helped the prosecution, so it was no real surprise when I was convicted & sentenced to death. My initial appeal - which was written by these same attorneys was quickly denied by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. In order to further my appeals in the absence of money to pay an attorney I depended upon volunteers through the Texas Resource Center who also had no experience in Death Penalty cases. When I explained the situation to some of my pen pals overseas in Germany & Italy they agreed to try to help me raise money to hire an experienced attorney and; in 1993; we hired Randy Schaffer; a noted Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. For the past 20 years this appeal has been 'slow tracked'. PLEASE REFER TO THE UPDATE PAGE, BECAUSE ON 06/15/2012 A VERY IMPORTANT DECISION WAS MADE REGARDING ARTHUR'S CASE! Attorneys/appeals are a constant & continuing expense and I'm hoping with the help of people who believe in "Justice" that I will be able to raise the amount of money needed to obtain an attorney for upcoming appeals, in hopes of avoiding the death sentence and to regain my freedom, so that I could not only be reunited with family and friends, but also all of my supporters who helped to bring this to being!