Darrent Williams Slayed, Justice Postponed

brian clothierContributor IJune 2, 2009

DENVER - AUGUST 20:  Darrent Williams #27 of the Denver Broncos stands on the field during the preseason game with the San Francisco 49ers at Invesco Field at Mile High on August 20, 2005 in Denver, Colorado.  The Broncos defeated the 49ers 26-21. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

At 2:30 am on the morning of Jan. 1, 2007, Darrent Williams was pronounced dead.

An apparent altercation between some club goers and gang members would cost Williams his life.

The 24-year-old Williams had been at a New Year’s Eve party at a Denver nightclub.  He was there to bring in the New Year and celebrate the birthday of Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin.

Williams left the club around 2:00 in the morning.  Just 12 hours before, Williams had played the final game of the 2006 season for the Denver Broncos against the San Francisco 49ers.

As Williams and friends settled into their rented limousine, a second vehicle pulled alongside and fired shots into the limo.  Darrent Williams was struck by a single bullet to the back of the neck and slumped into the lap of then-Broncos wide receiver Javon Walker. At 2:10 am, Williams would take his last breath.

The Denver police department would impound the car of a known Crips gang member, Brian Hicks.  Hicks was already in prison and awaiting trial for attempted murder and drug charges.  Immediately, the police turned to known associates of Hicks for answers.

On May 30, 2008, the Rocky Mountain News posted a story claiming they possessed a letter in which Willie Clark had confessed to firing the shot that took the life of the Broncos defensive back. That October, a grand jury indicted Clark in the murder.

Clark was set to stand trial on July 6, but a judge in the case has postponed the trial until Oct. 13 as per the request of Clark’s attorneys.

The attorneys claim that Clark was influenced by police officers trying to force a confession and, therefore, the letter should not be admissible in court.  District Judge Cristina Habas will rule this week on the matter.

Handwriting analyses obtained by the Rocky Mountain News confirm that Clark was the author of the letter.  The letter was examined by an independent with certification from the National Association of Document Examiners.  The Denver Police also had the document examined and authenticated.

Clark’s letter was matched against 14 other samples, including a letter to the U.S. District Judge Wiley Y. Daniel.

Sources: Rocky Mountain News, ESPN