Convicted Oklahoma State University basketball player Darrell Williams will appear in court this afternoon for his sentencing on three felony charges.
On July 23, a jury convicted Williams, 22, of two counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual battery. The jury recommended a year of jail time for each rape charge and no time on the sexual battery charge. Williams was found not guilty on two other counts of rape by instrumentation.
Following the announcement of the verdict, Williams cried out, “Oh my Jesus God; I didn’t do it!” This prompted prosecutor Jill Tontz to hide behind a sheriff’s deputy and cry.
The charges stem from an off-campus party in December 2010, where two women claimed Williams touched them inappropriately. During testimony, one woman said other partygoers were recording the attacks on cell phones. The other said he dragged her through a yard at the party. Both alleged Williams stuck his finger in their private areas, according to court records.
Outrage over Williams’ campaign led to the emergence of a social media campaign titled “Free Darrell Williams.” The Twitter account has so far garnered more than 1,300 followers and the Facebook account has surpassed 2,000 likes. Supporters submitted a petition with more than 1,500 signatures to District Judge Phillip Corley, said campaign coordinator Brandi Robertson.
“We have been so pleased with the response,” Robertson said. “Everyone has been so positive, and Rev. Jesse Jackson being in Stillwater has made people more aware of the case.”
Jackson spoke about Williams’ case at an advocacy forum in Stillwater Thursday. He professed his belief in Williams’ innocence and talked about issues with the jury’s composition and false convictions.
In Williams’ trial, there were eight men and four women on the jury. All but one was white.
Williams’ mother Alice said Thursday that she hopes her son can walk free.
“The system failed him,” she said. “There was no tangible evidence. I just want my son to be a free man.”
Most recently, Williams’ attorney, Cheryl Ramsey, filed a motion for a new trial Thursday afternoon.
Williams has been in custody at the Payne County Jail since the verdict.