A defendant accused of killing a man he mistakenly thought had burglarized his Oak Park home has been convicted in a retrial of the 1999 murder case.
David Earl Williams, 52, was originally convicted in 2001 of first-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Mallory Treadwell, and his conviction was upheld in the state appellate court. But in 2012, a federal district court ordered that he be retried. On Tuesday, a Sacramento County jury in the retrial convicted him of first-degree murder, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office announced.
About 2 a.m. on July 27, 1998, Williams returned to his home in the 3900 block of 17th Avenue and found that it had been burglarized. That same morning, Treadwell disappeared less than a mile from Williams’ home. Later that day, Treadwell’s body was found in an irrigation canal in Rio Linda. Authorities said he had been tied up with a rope and a leather belt was tightly wound around his neck. The cause of death was ligature strangulation.
Williams was unaware that he was under investigation that summer by the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal authorities for allegedly dealing large quantities of cocaine and marijuana. On July 29, 1998, an informant working with federal agents told homicide detectives that Williams told him his home had been burglarized. The informant stated that Williams said he found one of the burglars in his yard, tied him to a tree, pistol-whipped him, broke his neck and disposed of the body in Rio Linda.
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When Williams’ home was searched, investigators located pistols, cocaine, marijuana and rope that was scientifically indistinguishable from the rope used to bind Treadwell, authorities said. Forensic analysis of items in Williams’ car and home further linked him to the killing.
Williams’ arrest in the case followed an eight-month investigation. In the course of the investigation, evidence showed that Treadwell was not involved in the burglary. Authorities said he was killed by Williams in a case of mistaken identity.
Williams is to be sentenced May 3 by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Raoul Thorbourne.