Trial begins for firefighter accused of killing four

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The murder trial of a former Memphis firefighter is being conducted without a jury.

Frederick Williams waived his right to a jury trial in the March 2000 killings of four people and has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Criminal Court Judge Arthur Bennett yesterday heard witnesses describe the shooting rampage in which Williams is accused of killing his wife, setting the couple's house on fire and fatally shooting two firefighters and a Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy as fire units responded to the blaze.

The 47-year-old Williams has admitted killing his wife Stacey Williams, firefighters Javier Lerma and William Blakemore, and Deputy Robert Peete Junior.

He has been treated for paranoid schizophrenia and other mental illnesses at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute. The trial is continuing today.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)