Two families continue to wait for the sentencing of a Loudoun man charged with capital murder.
Daunteril Hall, 29, was convicted of first-degree murder in the January 2005 killing of Sherine Williams, 24, who was pistol whipped, shot and slashed in the throat.
Hall became a suspect shortly after Williams’ body was found by family members on the bathroom floor of her Reserve Falls Terrace apartment in Sterling, Jan. 23, 2005.
Hall fled the area to Canton, Ohio, where a police officer recognized him and arrested him six days after the murder.
The Loudoun man appeared to be facing a possible death sentence, but in December 2006, he decided to enter an Alford plea, which does not admit guilt but acknowledges that prosecutors probably have enough evidence to convict him. Under the plea, Hall could face up to 75 years in prison.
Minutes before he was supposed to be sentenced Thursday, April 5, Hall asked Judge Thomas D. Horne to withdraw his plea, making him eligible for the death penalty.
Hall said he misunderstood sentencing guidelines, was unhappy with his counsel, Jud Fishel, and shouldn’t go to prison for something, he said, he didn’t do.
Horne dismissed Hall’s attempt to withdraw his plea.
"That’s done," he said.
Fishel asked to be removed from the case.
"I don’t see how I can stand here in good faith and proceed today," Fishel said. "He shouldn’t be sentenced without any doubt of quality representation."
Corinne Magee, Fishel’s co-counsel, said she can handle the case on her own and asked for 45 minutes to prepare the witnesses.
Even she hadn’t met with Hall since March 1, she said.
HALL’S SISTER, Danielle Freeman, waited outside the courtroom Thursday afternoon to speak with Magee.
Freeman said she was frustrated with Fishel and Magee because they cancelled meetings on family members and Freeman said she felt as though the attorneys were unprepared for the sentencing.
"They had two years to prepare for this case," Freeman said. "My brother’s life is at stake."
Freeman said Fishel cancelled a March 31 meeting with the family on March 30.
"He cancelled meetings because he had to go tend to his horses," Freeman said. "He quit because he wasn’t prepared."
Forty-five minutes later, Magee requested a continuance, which Horne granted to her. Hall is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, May 3, at 9 a.m., at the courthouse in Leesburg.
COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY Stephen Sincavage called Sherine William’s mother, Jemme Williams, to the stand to talk about how her life has changed since Jan. 23, 2005.
Jemme Williams took the stand with a picture of her daughter clutched to her chest.
"My daughter, she was my first born. She was my best friend," she said. "I brought her here for a better life because back home, it is so hard. Now, my life is not the same."
Jemme Williams moved her family from Trinidad and Tobago to Loudoun County. Sherine Williams graduated from Loudoun Valley High School in 1999 and worked for Bank of America. Since her daughter’s murder, Jemme Williams said she is afraid to stay alone in her house, afraid for the rest of her children and has started drinking alcohol as a result of the murder.
Sincavage also called Shrine William’s best friend, Dejon Ellis, to the stand.
"Not only did you destroy Sherine," she said, "but you destroyed all who loved Sherine and all who loved you."
Ellis worked with Sherine Williams for two years.
"From the time we met we never separated," she said.
"Sherine, she was an angel. She was so sweet," Jemme Williams said. "She was always smiling."