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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Trial Begins of the Truck Driver Charged with the Deaths of 19 Illegal Immigrants

The trial of Tyrone Mapletoft Williams, the 34 year-old Jamaican truck driver charged for the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants, began on Tuesday.  Williams accepted $7,500 for transporting dozens of Mexican and Central American illegal immigrants from the Mexican border through a customs checkpoint to a truck stop in Victoria, Texas, in May 2003.  When he found the dead immigrants in his truck, he went to a hospital in Houston, complaining of extreme stress from finding the bodies, where he was later arrested.  Williams' lawyer admitted that Williams was guilty of transporting the illegal immigrants, but was not culpable for their deaths because he didn't know that so many people crammed into his trailer.  An estimated 100 people crowded into the trailer for a three hour trip with nearly no oxygen.  The immigrants punched the lights out in the trailer to get more oxygen, while Williams, who doesn't speak Spanish, allegedly ignored their shouts for help.  Williams reportedly did stop three times to pass water to the passengers through the hole they created in the trailer.  Of the 14 people indicted in the crime, Williams is the only one facing the death penalty.  More from NYTimes... [Mark Godsey] 

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