Trial begins for second suspect in Clarke-Straub murders - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Trial begins for second suspect in Clarke-Straub murders

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Samuel Williams Samuel Williams

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The trial for the second man charged with the 2011 murders of Johnny Clarke and Lisa Straub began Friday morning.

Samuel Williams, 24, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of Clarke and Straub. He is also charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of burglary.

Cameo Pettaway, 23, is the second man charged in the deaths and started his case earlier this week. Williams' case is different though, as he still could face the death penalty if found guilty.

On Friday, prosecutors and defense attorneys gave their opening statements to the 12 jurors and four alternate jurors.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Miller said Clarke and Straub "were both brutally tortured and slowly murdered, in a manner that only the coldest of killer could have conjured." Then Miller said that Williams is that killer.

Miller then laid out the events leading up to the discovery of Clarke and Straub's bodies at Straub's parents home in Holland Jan. 31. He described, in grim detail, the condition of the bodies and mentioned that the house was ransacked.

Prosecution told the jury of DNA evidence that connects both Williams and Pettaway to the murder scene.  

"There were two person's DNA found on that one cigarette found at the crime scene: Samuel Williams and Cameo Pettaway," said Miller.

When the defense spoke to the jury, they stressed the importance of the jurors separating themselves emotionally from the gruesome nature of the case, and told them to rather focus on the quality of evidence the prosecution brings to the court. They also said to keep in mind that no other evidence from the crime scene links Williams to the murder.

"The nature of this case does not alter or take away from the burden of proof that the state of Ohio is required to carry throughout this case. And that burden of proof, as the judge will instruct you, is beyond a reasonable doubt," said Defense Attorney Jane Roman.

Once the opening statements ended Friday morning, the jurors were taken on a tour of the crime scene.

Prosecution will begin introducing evidence to the courtroom Monday morning.

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