Cause of death at issue in death of Hawaii child


HONOLULU — A defense lawyer for a former soldier accused of punching his 5-year-old daughter to death says an autopsy shows evidence of lasting injuries that weakened the girl before she died.

A federal prosecutor countered during closing trial arguments on Tuesday that medical exams proved that 40-pound Talia Williams died of head trauma when her father struck her in the chest, dislocating her shoulder and knocking her to the floor.

The arguments illustrated how defense attorney John Philipsborn and prosecutor Steven Mellin disagree on the cause of death.

Defendant Naeem Williams and the girl’s stepmother, Delilah Williams, have acknowledged beating, confining and restraining the girl in the seven months before her death in 2005.

If convicted, Naeem Williams could face the death penalty.