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Man who raped woman & set her on fire commits suicide in prison

A man who raped and attempted to kill a woman he set on fire in 1995 was found dead in his prison cell Monday, an apparent suicide. Cody Williams came from a disturbed family: his father brutally murdered his mother, and his brother is also a convicted rapist.... Read more»

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3 comments on this story

Aug 22, 2018, 9:49 am
-0 +3

Thank you for this story, Dylan.

The dirt road that he lived on referred to is South Sparrow Ave. I know this because I lived next door to the Williams family from ‘87-94.

Cody Williams was addicted to committing crime. I always described him saying if feeding the homeless were a crime, he’d instinctively reach for a soup ladle. He was always in stealing from someone of vandalizing something, always committing some kind of crime. More than once he burglarized my home.

Concerning his victim, that poor woman who he raped and killed…I have a couple of thoughts about that.

The first thought, Cody shows us that the Juvenile Justice system needs a complete overhaul. Cody’s criminal history showed us in big red letters that his severely victimizing someone one day was inevitable. The warning signs were not only there, they were LOUD! But, because the juvie system is so broken, sufficient punishment was never provided to Cody for his transgressions in the past. He was taught from an early age that he could do whatever he wanted to whoever he wanted and he would either get a pass, or a slap on the wrist. Odds are great that he took that same mentality into Midvale Park that fateful night.

My second thought is that the death penalty doesn’t go far enough. I went to Cody’s trial. I know what happened. Cody waited for his victim in her closet. When she came home, he emerged and smashed her head in with a jewelry box. He put her face down on the bed, which was strewn with glass from the window he broke to gain entry. He proceeded to rape her. When he was done, he doused her and the surrounding area with rubbing alcohol. He set her on fire, and her house with her still in it. He stole her car and left.

She survived not because Cody showed any restraint, but only because of an incredible stroke of good luck. However, she was left permanently disfigured.

Why do I say the death penalty doesn’t go far enough? Well, in Cody’s case, if we take the exact same details of the crime but change only the fact that his victim miraculously survived, his case would have put him way over the top for the death penalty. His actions were death penalty worthy, and that’s what the focus should be on in cases like Cody’s…not whether or not the victim survived.

At Cody’s trial, like the cited story says, he showed absolutely zero emotion, not just when the verdict was read, but through the whole thing. When his interrogation was played at his trial…that was it. He didn’t confess, but his story was so horribly bad that it was abundantly clear not only that he was lying, but that he put absolute zero thought into any sort of cover story before his interrogation. I am surprised that the jury needed the hour and 45 minutes that they did to come up with a verdict. They should have been back in about 5 minutes.

Aug 22, 2018, 8:00 pm
-0 +2

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and memories, Bret.

Aug 22, 2018, 10:43 pm
-0 +1

You’re welcome. And, I made a mistake…raped and ALMOST killed, not raped and killed. Sorry

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