Memphis firefighter goes to trial - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis firefighter goes to trial

The trial began today for a former Mid-South firefighter accused of going on a deadly hour-long shooting rampage.
     
Investigators say Fred Williams killed his wife, set fire to their house and then killed two firefighters and a deputy responding to the fire in March 2000.  As the trial begins six years later, Williams is pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
    
From 911 tapes to graphic testimony, emotions ran high as victims, family members and witnesses took the stand.
    
The trial began with the defense claiming Fred Williams was not in control of his actions that day.  The prosecution argued he knew what he was doing.
    
The trial intensified as a series of emotional prosecution witnesses took the stand.  Then, they played the 911 tapes as Williams sat in the courtroom with little emotion.

    
Male Caller: Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  She's bleeding bad.  I'm fixing to take my shirt off and put on her.
City 911: Bleeding?
Male Caller: Yes, and he just shot at the fire department and he shot a deputy."
          
    
A dispatcher then asked for a description of the suspect.

Male Caller: With a big 12 gauge in his hand! And he's shooting anybody who comes around the house.  He's shooting, he just shot a deputy.

  
Then, family members took the stand.  Mary Pete worked at the Shelby County Sheriff's Department with her husband.  He called her from the scene. 

"And I kept saying hello, hello?  And I just held the phone trying to hear and then the phone just went dead," she explained.
    
One victim described how she had to have her teeth wired after getting shot in the face.  The last witness of the day told the judge how Williams aimed and fired.  Family members embraced witnesses outside the courtroom. 

"It's been six long years and I'm just happy for the families of the victims because they were able to find some solace," said Witness Michael Higgenbottom.
    
The prosecution has one more witness Tuesday, then the defense presents its case.  If found guilty, Williams' faces life in prison without parole.

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