Cape man gets reduced charge; wife changed story

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A man accused of beating his wife pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Tuesday after she told prosecutors she had exaggerated his attack.

Donald L. Williams, 35, of 1117 S. Ranney St., was released on a sentence of time served since his arrest Nov. 11. The sentence, recommended by prosecutor Morley Swingle, didn't sit well with Associate Circuit Judge Gary Kamp.

"I have difficulty with this because of his history," Kamp said.

The plea was Williams's second for domestic assault. He pleaded guilty in 2002 and received a 90-day jail sentence. He also has past convictions for burglary, possessing ingredients for methamphetamine, failure to pay child support and endangering the welfare of a child.

And the plea Tuesday doesn't end his current legal problems. He is scheduled for trial in December in Scott County for felony child abuse and has driving while intoxicated charges pending in Scott County as well.

Changes to story

In an interview after the plea, Shamela Williams said she wasn't truthful when she told Cape Girardeau police her husband punched her 20 times in the head and face.

Her family doesn't like Donald Williams, she said, and "coached" her in the story, she said.

"He's my husband and I've got kids with him," she said. "I didn't want him to go to prison."

Explaining the plea arrangement to Kamp, Swingle said Shamela Williams visited him in his office seeking the reduced charge. Shamela Williams told him the fight began when she jumped on Donald Williams's back, Swingle said.

"Her version and his version are now the same," he said.

Following Donald Williams's arrest for domestic assault, Shamela Williams filed for and received a temporary order of protection from Associate Circuit Judge Peter Statler.

A hearing is scheduled for today that will decide whether to impose a full order of protection, preventing Donald Williams from having contact with his wife for a year.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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