Judge detains 300-pound disabled man in murder of Tyrone King
A 300-pound disabled man who suffers from a spinal cord injury is the alleged gunman who shot and killed 51-year-old Tyrone “Big Face” King Sr. in broad daylight Sept. 17.
Wade Williams, 42, appeared in court Wednesday in a wheelchair and sporting an orange jumpsuit as his defense attorney Robin Lord suggested it would be “cruel and unusual punishment” for the handicapped city man to be detained without bail at the Mercer County jail.
The Mercer County Homicide Task Force arrested Williams Dec. 5 at his girlfriend’s house in connection with the murder of King, a beloved family man who is survived by four children and several siblings.
The state has surveillance video footage, cellphone tower data and statements from confidential informants and an eyewitness to prove that Williams is the triggerman who gunned down King on the 900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in North Trenton, according to court documents.
At Williams’ detention hearing Wednesday morning, Lord argued that the state has a weak case against her client, saying the state is engaging in “prosecution by rumor.”
When Superior Court Judge Ronald Susswein determined the state had probable cause in charging Williams with first-degree murder and weapons offenses, Lord then revealed that Williams suffers from cervical spinal stenosis and that he cannot properly bathe himself in the jail’s shower stall and “can’t wipe his own behind” after a bowel movement.
Williams has been incarcerated at the Mercer County Correction Center’s infirmary since his arrest. Lord at Wednesday’s detention hearing suggested her client could be released on electronically monitored home detention and into the care of his girlfriend.
The infirmary at the jail has “freezing” climate conditions and lacks the capacity to accommodate Williams’ needs, according to Lord. “It would be a shame to house Wade Williams in such unsanitary conditions” for months of pretrial detention in a case that could end in acquittal, she said, noting her client’s feet “are so swollen” and that he “can barely fit in the stall” to take a shower at the jail.
Williams and his girlfriend are engaged and have a 4-year-old child together, Lord said, adding the fiancée is also pregnant with Williams’ unborn child and that the fiancée would help Williams maintain cleanliness and good hygiene if he was released on house arrest. “He needs somebody to wipe him,” Lord said of her client. “He can’t wipe his own behind. He has sores now on his rear end.”
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Sean McMurtry argued that Williams is charged with murder, faces life in prison, and presents a “flight risk” and “danger to the community.”
Judge Susswein found probable cause in the state’s case against Williams and concluded Wednesday’s detention hearing by ordering Williams to remain jailed without bail on pretrial detention. “This is about risk assessment,” Susswein said. “He has a long criminal history, which in my mind bolsters the argument that detention is merited.”
Much of Williams’ criminal history involves drug distribution. A Superior Court judge earlier this year sentenced Williams to three years of probation for selling drugs on the streets of Trenton in August 2013.
Susswein said he understands Lord’s concerns about the infirmary being too cold and accepts Williams is disabled with a spinal cord injury, but he added, “I don’t agree this is a weak case riddled with holes” and alleged that Williams “had no difficulty getting to a location, shooting somebody and fleeing from it.”
The homicide victim Tyrone King was a Ewing resident who originally hailed from Trenton. He worked for Discount Auto in Langhorne, Pa., for two decades and was the father of three daughters and one “heartbroken” U.S. Marine son, according to King’s siblings who attended Wednesday’s detention hearing.
Prior to the detention hearing, King’s relatives told The Trentonian they hope to see Williams convicted and punished to the maximum extent allowed by law.
“This guy has got to pay,” the victim’s sister Kim King, 56, said of Williams, alleging that he “took somebody very dear to us. Our holidays are ruined, and it won’t be the same without Tyrone.”
“They say justice is blind,” the victim’s brother Michael King said, “but God can see, and I want that guy to be just where he is supposed to be — to be behind bars for 1,000 years.”
Tyrone King suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest about 11:30 a.m. Sept. 17 and was later pronounced dead at the hospital, authorities said.
On the day of the murder, Wade Williams was driving a silver-colored Toyota 4Runner SUV, according to the affidavit of probable cause, which indicates the vehicle was a rental truck that was rented to the defendant’s brother Nathaniel Williams.
Wade Williams got behind the wheel of the rental vehicle on the morning of Sept. 17 and drove to the 900 block of MLK Jr. Boulevard near a deli, where he encountered Tyrone King in a verbal argument. Williams drove away from the area but returned about 20 minutes later with a firearm and fired the weapon from the vehicle, striking King’s chest, according to the allegations outlined in the police affidavit.
Mortally wounded, King clenched his chest with both hands and ran inside the deli after getting shot. Authorities say Williams fled from the murder scene in the Toyota and that surveillance video and cellphone tower data proves he was in the vicinity of the crime scene and quickly drove into Pennsylvania via the Trenton Makes Bridge after King was gunned down.
Authorities say surveillance footage depicts a “heavyset” male operating the Toyota 4Runner on the day of King’s murder. Judge Susswein, citing the affidavit of probable cause at Wade Williams’ detention hearing, said Wade Williams matched the driver’s description and that the defendant’s brother Nathaniel Williams has a slender build and was determined to be in the vicinity of Spring Street at the time of the shooting.
Police interviewed a witness at the murder scene on Sept. 17 and interviewed that witness again on Sept. 21 in a video-recorded session that defense attorney Robin Lord played in court Wednesday. Police asked the witness what the word on the street was, and the witness in the Sept. 21 interview said the initial word on the street was that the homicide victim was messing with young boys but that the latest word was that Wade Williams was the alleged triggerman.
Police filed murder charges against Williams on Dec. 4 and arrested him the following day, according to court records.
“It appears Mr. Williams is being prosecuted by rumor on the street,” Lord said. “This is prosecution by rumor and hearsay and word on the street.”