Myron Williams is led away from court in handcuffs. Williams faces circuit court arraignment on murder and robbery charges. photo by Kathy Ryan.
October 17, 2013Grosse Pointe Park — Myron Williams will stand trial for the May murder of Grosse Pointe Park resident Sabrina Gianino.
Judge Carl Jarboe ruled Thursday, Oct. 10, there was enough evidence to charge Williams with first degree murder, felony murder and unarmed robbery, and scheduled an arraignment on the charges in Wayne County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. Williams is being held without bond in the Wayne County jail. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.
In binding Williams, 42, over for trial, Jarboe said while there was no direct evidence linking him to the murder, there was strong circumstantial evidence, including Williams having in his possession items allegedly taken from the victim's home.
At the time of the murder, Williams, his wife and four children lived in the attic in a house next door to Gianino.
Gianino, 35, was found dead by her boyfriend shortly after midnight May 16 in a flat they shared on Wayburn. According to testimony from Assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner Francesco Diaz, Gianino was strangled with a ligature "consistent with an extension cord" and suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
Ten witnesses took the stand during the preliminary examination in front of Jarboe, ranging from a loss prevention manager from Abercrombie & Fitch to a crack dealer who sold $20 in rock cocaine to Williams in exchange for a laptop computer belonging to Gianino's boyfriend.
The crack dealer, Antonio Mitchell, testified that "sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight," the night of May 15, Williams came to his house on Alter and gave him a laptop computer, later identified as one belonging to Gianino's boyfriend, in exchange for cocaine. Mitchell also testified Williams left an iPhone and an iPod on a table, but there was no discussion between the two of them about the items.
Under questioning by Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Molly Kettler, Mitchell said around 3 a.m. he noticed the phone had been ringing steadily, so he decided to answer it. The caller, a Grosse Pointe Park detective, told him the phone was part of a very serious police investigation and he agreed to meet with police, but later changed his mind.
"I decided not to go because I didn't want to get involved," he told Kettler.
He then testified he gave the phone to a friend, telling him to "throw it in the trash." Later that day the friend told him the phone belonged to a dead person, and Mitchell, along with the friend, "encountered police and stopped and talked to them." Mitchell told police who had left the phone at his house, and was taken into custody. He also said Williams was a steady customer who purchased crack from him "about every other day." He didn't know his name or where he lived, saying he only knew him by the name, "TD," or "Truck Driver." Williams had worked as a truck driver, but was unemployed at the time of the murder.
Williams wife, Quashaunda Williams, 36, testified her husband had used crack cocaine in the past, and she could tell when he was using by his behavior.
"He would become paranoid and sweaty," she told Kettler, "and he would accuse me of having other men in the house."
She said the night of the murder she had gone to bed early, but heard her husband come in around 9:30 p.m., and he appeared "sober."
She then testified she heard her husband come in a second time and saw him sitting on the bed, and when she asked where he had been, he told her he had used the bathroom.
"But I had heard the front door open, and I knew the bathroom was not outside," she said. "He didn't leave the attic at night to use the bathroom. At night he would pee in a jar in the attic."
She said she was awakened shortly after that by the sound of sirens outside the house, and it was then she noticed her husband "looked like he had been smoking crack. He was sweating and in a daze."
She then identified several letters to and from her husband while he was in jail.
It was the contents of the letters that would link a key piece of evidence in the murder to Williams.
It was brought out in court that Williams had asked his wife and at least one other person to retrieve his wallet, which was being held in the property room at the Wayne County jail. Based on that information, Grosse Pointe Park police obtained a search warrant and retrieved Williams' wallet. In the wallet they found a gift card from clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch. Gianino's mother allowed police to look through her daughter's clothing, where they found a shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch. It was later determined the shirt had been bought using the gift card Williams had in his possession.
Williams' attorney, Ray Paige, told Jarboe the prosecutor had failed to provide enough evidence to charge his client with murder.
"Even if we were to admit he had possession of these items, the question is when did he come in possession of them," Paige told the court. "We don't know if they were stolen before May 15 and even if he did steal them, it doesn't equate to murder. The evidence presented is woefully inadequate."
Jarboe ruled otherwise.
Gianino's mother was in the courtroom, but declined to comment.