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Prosecutors to seek death penalty in Oklahoma case where man, 79, was beaten, stabbed

Edward C. Williams, 18, accused of beating Vernon Gowdy, 79, over the head with martial arts weapon and stabbing him multiple times; prosecutors call crime ‘heinous.'
by Tim Willert Published: September 1, 2012

Oklahoma County prosecutors said Friday they will seek the death penalty against a man accused of beating an elderly man on the head and stabbing him and leaving the knife in his neck.

Edward Cortez Williams Jr., 18, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of family friend Vernon Gowdy.

Gowdy, 79, of Oklahoma City, died April 4 of injuries he suffered the previous day at an apartment complex at 5922 S Lee.

Prosecutors allege in a bill of particulars filed this week that the slaying “was particularly heinous, atrocious or cruel,” and believe Williams is a threat to society who would commit additional “criminal acts of violence” if released.

Williams was arrested after telling a 911 operator that he “killed someone,” and confessing to homicide detectives that he beat and stabbed Gowdy, police reported.

The police officer who responded to the call testified in July that Williams told him he hit Gowdy in the head with a nunchaku, which is a martial arts weapon, and knocked him to the floor before retrieving a kitchen knife and stabbing him in the neck several times.

“He left the knife in Vernon's neck,” Oklahoma City police Sgt. Jason Garner testified at Williams' preliminary hearing.

Gowdy, according to his son, was stabbed 18 times.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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