Nail gun murder trial set for Napa on Monday |

Nail gun murder trial set for Napa on Monday

The nail gun murder trial of Richard Williams will begin in Napa on Monday after an attempt to keep the case in Nevada County failed Friday.

Whether attorney Stephen Munkelt can use a defense of Williams being unconscious due to withdrawal from an anti-depressant drug during the crime remains to be seen. Superior Court Judge Tom Anderson said that decision will come as the trial progresses.

Williams allegedly killed his estranged wife, Hendrika “Hetty” Williams, in the Grass Valley home they once shared on Oct. 22, 2005, by shooting two nails into her head and one into the chest. He may have also attacked her with a ball-peen hammer, according to Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Francis.

Judge Robert Tamietti moved the case to Napa in September after agreeing with Munkelt that “incendiary” pre-trial publicity had contaminated the jury pool.

But Tamietti was disqualified Monday on another motion from Munkelt, when a San Joaquin County judge ruled he was personally too close to the case.

Judge Bernard Garber said Tamietti’s romantic interest had professional ties to Hetty Williams and the girlfriend’s son was a social friend of Brianna Williams. She is the daughter of Richard and Hetty Williams, and is expected to testify.

That caused Francis to ask the newly appointed Anderson to reconsider the change of venue to Napa. But Anderson said nothing new has occurred to change the circumstances around Tamietti’s initial ruling and kept the case in Napa.


To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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