Meet the Exonerees

Joe Sidney Williams

State: Texas
Date of Birth:
Incident Date: 03/01/1986
Age at Arrest: 19
Conviction Date: 1987
Age When Exonerated: 34
Exonerated Date: 2001
Time Served: 6
Conviction: robbery, rape, murder
False Confession: No
Implicated by Another Youth: No

Case Details

Nineteen-year-old Joe Sidney Williams and his co-defendant, Calvin Washington, were convicted of robbing, raping, and murdering a Waco, Texas woman in 1986. In trial, an expert witness testified that bruises on the victim’s body were bite marks that matched Williams's teeth. A jailhouse informant claimed that he heard Washington and Williams make incriminating statements when he walked by their hotel room one night. Meanwhile, the defense presented over a dozen Waco, Texas, police officers who testified to the unreliability of the jailhouse informant. The prosecution also produced evidence that the defendants were in possession of the victim’s car and had sold items belonging to the victim on the night of the crime. Both Williams and Washington were convicted in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison. Williams's conviction was overturned in 1993, and the prosecution declined to retry him. Washington served thirteen years in prison before DNA test results exonerated him in 2001. Testing also showed that fluids taken from the victim came from neither Washington nor Williams.