March 27, 2014DETROIT — The fate of Myron Williams, charged with first-degree murder in the death of Grosse Pointe Park resident Sabrina Gianino, lies in the hands of a Wayne County Circuit Court jury.
Wayne County assistant prosecutor Molly Kettler rested her case Tuesday after calling 40 witnesses. Defense attorney Charles Longstreet II also rested his case and did not call any witnesses. However, he did ask the Hon. Ulysses Boykin to issue a direct motion of acquittal based on what he felt was the prosecution's inability to present evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that implicated his client.
"The prosecution has not shown in any way that my client was connected with this murder," he said.
The judge denied the request.
In her closing arguments, Kettler told the jury that Williams was in need of money to feed his addiction to crack and found Gianino a perfect target.
"She was a caring, trusting person, who frequently left the door open," Kettler told the jury. "She was especially vulnerable to his attack. She was smaller than he is. Besides being alone, she had a lot to drink and had also taken valium. He could quickly and easily overpower her, take her items and get out to get gone to get what he needed that night, the crack cocaine pipe."
He couldn't leave Sabrina alive, Kettler told the jury, because she could identify him.
"She was enjoying a quiet evening at home. There's nothing wrong with having a few drinks in your own home. She posted to Facebook. She had flats of pansies waiting to be planted."
Williams, Kettler said, killed her then walked a short distance to his crack dealer's house on Alter Road, where he traded her laptop for $30 and some crack and left her cellphone and her iPod.
"His own wife," Kettler said, "testified that she saw the defendant sitting on the end of their bed, sweating and bug-eyed, just the way he always looked when he used crack."
Williams, Kettler continued, also had in his wallet an Abercrombie and Fitch gift card that had belonged to Gianino, and cited his efforts to get his wallet back from the Wayne County Jail property room.
"That wallet is the smoking gun," Kettler said.
She also told the jury to not judge many of the witnesses who testified, describing them as "dope men and fences," but who also assisted the police in apprehending Williams.
"Even people who live on the edge of the law have certain boundaries of what's right and what's wrong," she said.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Charles Longstreet II told the jury the prosecution had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that his client killed Gianino.
"They haven't shown you thing," Longstreet said. "They brought a lot of speculation, a lot of guesses. Nothing they have shows he committed murder."
Longstreet also reminded the jurors that no DNA or fingerprints from his client were found at the scene.
Longstreet also told the jurors that the police failed to treat Gianino's boyfriend as a suspect.
"What I showed you about (the boyfriend) is what the prosecution showed you about my client," he said. "He could be innocent, but the police could be wrong. That night, he stopped here, he stopped there. He went to the bar, he had tools that matched circular contusions on her skull. Show me where my client had something that could have caused those wounds."
Longstreet said there are a lot of unanswered questions in this case, and the prosecution did not prove their case "beyond a reasonable doubt."
"And that's the principle you must remember. 'Might have done it' is not enough."
Closing arguments came after over two weeks of testimony from 40 witnesses. Several witnesses testified that Williams, who lived next door to Gianino on Wayburn, had in his possession items belonging to the victim within hours of the murder. But while the prosecution made a strong case against Williams, offering evidence he was in possession of Gianino's cellphone and laptop computer, experts from the Michigan State Police crime labs testified that neither fingerprints nor DNA from Williams were found at the scene or on Gianino's body.
One of the strongest lines of questioning from Longstreet toward officers from the Grosse Pointe Park police centered on a rubber mallet found in the car belonging to Gianino's boyfriend who lived with her in the flat on Wayburn.
Longstreet asked why the mallet was never tested for fingerprints or DNA and also questioned Wayne County Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz if injuries found on Gianino would be consistent with blows from such a hammer.
Diaz acknowledged that such a tool could have been used and was consistent with contusions found on Gianino's skull.
In earlier testimony, police said that they had found the mallet in a search of the boyfriend's car, but he said it was kept in the car and was used when changing a tire.
Diaz had performed the autopsy on Gianino, and ruled her death a homicide caused by strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head. Diaz also said there were no signs of sexual assault and Gianino's body evidenced no sign of defensive wounds.
Williams faces three counts, including first-degree murder, felony murder and unarmed robbery. If convicted of first degree murder, he faces life in prison without parole.
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