Wednesday, February 22 2012 7:41 AM EST2012-02-22 12:41:39 GMT
It's been nearly 2 years since police found 2-year-old Rodricus Williams' body stuffed in a trash can under a block of cement. Now, Grace Trotman, the boy's father's girlfriend, has pled guilty to his homicide by child abuse and neglect, and desecration of human remains.More >>
Tuesday, February 21 2012 4:31 PM EST2012-02-21 21:31:01 GMT
A woman charged in the death of a 2-year-old found in a concrete-filled trash can in Bowman, S.C. has pleaded guilty.More >>
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) - The trial of Roger Williams, the man accused of beating his son to death and then hiding his body in a concrete-filled trash can, started Tuesday morning.
Roger Anthony Williams is charged with homicide by child abuse in the 2010 death of 2-year-old Rodricus Williams.
On July 6, 2010, Rodricus Williams was reported missing. Officials were told he might have fallen over the railing at the Battery. Crews searched the waters for hours but found nothing. Days later, investigators with multiple law enforcement agencies were led to an area behind a vacant mobile home in Bowman, in Orangeburg County.
Authorities say Rodricus died from being hit in the head. The child was found in a trash can in Orangeburg County.
Grace Trotman, the girlfriend of Roger Williams, reportedly led investigators to the boy's body. Both were arrested and charged with homicide.
The initial interview with Roger Williams and detectives was played in court Tuesday morning. On the tape, Williams told officers he took his son to the battery.
Officials say Rodricus was in the care of his father and Trotman when he went missing. Williams was adamant at the time of the missing person's report, however, that he did not know where the boy was, claiming he dropped him off with the boy's mother.
During the interrogation Williams was questioned at length about his truck and a trip he took to Home Depot around time of his son's disappearance.
A detective on the witness stand testified that shortly after the initial interrogation with Williams, police received information that Rodricus' body was found in Orangeburg.
Trotman was then called to the stand. While Trotman has pleaded guilty to homicide by child abuse, her sentence is pending her testimony against Williams. She could face up 20 years in prison.
Trotman, visibly shaken, claimed on the witness stand that Williams abused her when she was pregnant. She said he pulled her hair. "'He's controlling," she told the court. She refers to him as "Box."
Trotman said she would take care of Rodricus while she was dating Williams. She says Rodricus was a happy child and liked to sing, though Williams didn't like his son singing - especially religious songs.
She also said Williams would call Rodricus derogatory names, including homosexual slurs, make the child cry, then complain to others about the toddler. She also said he would often hit the child, as would her daughter.
Trotman testified that Williams would beat Rodricus because Williams thought he was "standing like a girl." She said Rodricus had seizures as a result of beatings.
"Every chance that he would stand like a girl he would bust him in his back or slap his face down to the floor, or kick him in his leg. It was like an ongoing thing," she said.
"Next day, Rodricus wouldn't wake up 'til I shook him," she said.
Trotman also told of the time Rodricus "went to the bathroom" in the living room. She says Williams took the boy into a room. "I heard crying and loud noises coming from the room...I was scared," she said.
At one point Trotman tried to give Rodricus CPR. She says this was after he was hit and started to suffer from another seizure. She said she also saw Rodricus beaten with a paddle and a closed fist on his back and chest by Williams.
Trotman says she did not call 911 because Williams "forbid me not to," because the boy had bruises on his body.
During Trotman's testimony, Williams showed no emotion. He sat hunched over next to his attorneys with his elbows on the table.
Trotman continued her testimony, saying Williams came home with a trash can and cement. She says he then wiped down the child with peroxide, wrapped him in tape and trash bags before putting him in the trash can with cement.
"He put some cement in the bottom of the trash can, then put water in it. Then put 'Dricus in it, and put his head in first," she explained.
Trotman said she drove the truck Williams used to move Rodricus, while the boy was in the trash can. She said Williams got out of the truck, rolled the boy and the trash can out of the truck and placed him in the woods behind a trailer.
She said after the boy's death, Williams would play a recording of Rodricus crying during phone calls, to convince the child's mother he was still alive.
Trotman told the court it was William's idea to go to the Battery and create a missing persons story, staging a search for Rodricus. She said the plan was to go to the Battery and then call 911. She says she borrowed someone's cell phone to do it.
Trotman says she told detectives where Rodricus' body was and took them there, even after she says she first lied about having any knowledge of his whereabouts.
Trotman also testified that Williams threatened to kill her.
"I'm testifying because Williams doesn't need to get away with it," she said.
After a lunch break and a brief testimony from a T-mobile records keeper, the defense cross examined Grace Trotman. Defense attorneys questioned Trotman's credibility after she admitted to initially lying to investigators.
They also argue that helping raise Williams' son from another woman potentially made Trotman jealous. Trotman denies being jealous.
During questioning, Trotman admits to "popping" Rodricus, but says she did not hit the boy hard, in the events leading up to his death.
Trotman has already testified the child hit his head on the wall and fell down after he was "popped." She demonstrated a "pop" as a slap on the arm. Defense has asked if she wound up and hit the boy. Trotman said she did not.
Trotman clarified, "I popped him (Rodricus) in the arm. He fell to the floor and hit his head on the wall." She says the boy had a seizure shortly after.
Shaneka Washington, Rodricus' mother, took the stand next. She said Williams always told her that Rodricus could have been anyone's baby. "He would never show up for paternity testing," she said. According to her, Williams found out Rodricus was his child when the boy was only one-year-old.
Washington also testifies that her son "knew a lot of church songs" and that his father didn't want him to go to school.
Washington broke down in tears on the stand after she's shown picture of Rodricus with a black eye. She said that while Rodricus was in his father's care that summer, Williams "always had a story" when she asked to see her son, even denying her access to the boy for the July 4th holiday.
Testimony ended around 5 p.m. Tuesday and will resume on Wednesday.
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