Sentencing phase begins in Williams murder trial - FOX 13 News

Sentencing phase begins in Williams murder trial

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Fallen Lakeland Police Officer Arnulfo Crispin's father weeps in court as the sentencing phase for the man convicted of the murder begins Fallen Lakeland Police Officer Arnulfo Crispin's father weeps in court as the sentencing phase for the man convicted of the murder begins
BARTOW (FOX 13) -

The sentencing phase for the man convicted of killing a Lakeland police officer has begun.

The jury will decide whether to recommend the death sentence or life in prison for Kyle Williams, but once again, they aren't hearing from Williams himself.

The state is going for the death penalty. Crispin's family made it clear they agree with emotional testimony Monday.

Crispin's father was the first to take the stand. Instead of reading from the victim's impact statement on the stand, Crispin's father wept, and told the courtroom that Williams should not have taken his son's life.

It prompted an immediate reaction from the judge, who ordered him to stop.

The defense then called for a mistrial, but the judge denied the request, and asked that the jury disregard the initial statement.

Crispin's sister also took the stand. She got emotional, too, as she told the courtroom how she has decided to honor her fallen brother.

"I graduated from police academy last month," she said. " I have been hired as an officer. I will wear my badge and wear my bulletproof vest, strap my duty belt on and wear his love to shield me against any harm."

Crispin's mom also delivered a teary testimony, at which point the defense asked again for a mistrial. For a second time, the judge denied the request.

As for their testimony, the defense called some of Williams' former teachers to the stand. The teachers said while Kyle wasn't the best student, he was a quiet and nice boy who helped out along the way.

Williams had the chance to testify on his own behalf, but as he did in the trial, he decided against it.

The jury was released Monday afternoon after testimony concluded.  They'll reconvene to make their recommendation Tuesday. 

The recommendation is expected to hold great weight, but the judge will ultimately decide Williams' fate.

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