Inmate To Go On Trial For Killing Former Police Officer


Savannah, Ga. (AP) -- Jury selection was set to begin Monday in the trial of a Chatham County jail inmate accused of killing a former police officer.

Joseph Williams, 30, would face the death penalty if convicted of strangling Michael Kelly Deal in July 2001.

Prosecutors say Joseph, along with another inmate, killed Deal, 54, because they were worried the one-time law enforcer would tell authorities about their plan to escape. Williams and Leon McKinney allegedly strangled Deal with a bandage, dragged him to his cell and strung him from the ceiling with a bedsheet to make the death look like a suicide.

Deal, a former Richmond Hill officer and one-time acting police chief in Thunderbolt, was in jail for failing to pay child support. McKinney is awaiting trial but is not facing the death penalty.

Williams is already serving three life sentences for murdering two people and for an armed robbery conviction. Williams is also suspected in the killing of an inmate at the Reidsville State Prison in Tattnall County but he has not been charged in that case.

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