Robert C. Williams
Robert C. Williams

UPDATE:

Jurors began deliberating the guilt or innocence of Robert C. Williams about 2:20 p.m. Thursday.

Just before 5:30 p.m., they indicated they need more time to reach a verdict and were sent home for the night. Deliberations resume at 9 a.m. Friday, according to York County District Attorney Tom Kearney.

EARLIER UPDATE:

Jurors were expected to begin deliberating on the fate of Robert C. Williams on Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday morning, chief deputy prosecutor David Sunday and defense attorney George Marros gave their closing arguments, after which presiding Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder allowed the jury to leave the Judicial Center for lunch.

Snyder said he will instruct jurors on the law starting about 1:30 p.m. After he's finished, deliberations begin.

Check back later for updates.

THURSDAY'S ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

Jurors must decide whether Robert C. Williams knew he was luring his crack-cocaine dealer into a deadly trap when he walked him inside a York City apartment building about a year ago, or whether he also was a victim in the stickup.

Immediately after Williams and Stanley "Black" Cotton walked through the front door of 612 W. Market St. and into a narrow stairwell, a door burst open and a masked gunman robbed -- then fatally shot -- Cotton.

Trial began Tuesday for Williams, 35, of 331 Stone Ave. in York City. Chief deputy prosecutor David Sunday alleges Williams knew he was luring Cotton to be robbed.


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But Williams, known as "Peanut," maintains he had no idea someone was going to rob Cotton and was merely the middleman in a drug deal, according to defense attorney George Marros.

"He wasn't involved in any set-up or robbery of Stanley Cotton," Marros has said.

Shot in back: Cotton, 44, of East Poplar Street, died of a single gunshot wound to the back.

The killer has so far not been caught.

Williams is charged with second-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit those offenses. If convicted of the murder charge, he would be sentenced to life in prison.

Testifying Wednesday was Bobby Barnes, who accompanied Cotton and Williams into the apartment building about 10:15 p.m. Nov. 10, 2011.

Barnes said once they were inside, a masked robber came around the corner and fired one shot. He told Barnes and Cotton to get on the ground, then ordered Williams to go through Cotton's pockets, according to Barnes

Hit with gun: Barnes said the gunman robbed him as well, and also pistol-whipped him. The gun fired a second time as Barnes was being struck with it, he said.

According to Barnes' testimony, Williams was not robbed and was told by the gunman to leave the building.

But in a lengthy interview with York City detectives, Williams repeatedly insisted he had no idea a robbery was about to happen. He said he also was robbed and pistol-whipped.

'I ran and I ran': Lead Detective Jeremy Mayer read long portions of that interview to jurors on Wednesday afternoon.

In it, Williams said he fled the building when ordered to by the gunman.

"He said, 'Don't turn around -- go.' ... I hauled a-- out the back," Williams told detectives. "And I ran. I ran and I ran and I ran."

He said he didn't have a stable home, so he ran to the home of a "nasty" woman on West Princess Street, where he got high on crack.

Three days after Cotton was killed, Williams was shot three times. His assailant was never arrested.

Williams told police he was shot during a botched robbery.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.