|For Immediate Release
Case # 09CF0705 July 28, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF MAN CONVICTED OF 1970 EXECUTION-MURDER OF FRIEND WRONGLY BELIEVED TO BE DRUG “SNITCH” TO POLICE
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole today of a man who was convicted in 1970 for the execution-style murder of a friend he wrongly believed had given information to police about him selling drugs. Robert Eugene Williams, 58, is currently being held at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, CA. Williams pleaded guilty to the court Jan. 28, 1971, to one felony count of first degree murder and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to life in state prison. Former Orange County Deputy District Attorney Robert Chatterton originally prosecuted this case. Williams is scheduled for a parole hearing this morning, July 28, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (Board).
Deputy District Attorney Israel Claustro will appear at the hearing to defend public safety and advocate for justice. During the hearing, letters submitted by the victim’s family and law enforcement opposing the release of Williams will be read before the Board.
Anita Lester, the victim’s sister, writes in her letter that “[her] family is still in pain due to the murder of [her] brother, Robert Hermann. I continue to live in fear of Williams being released and strongly urge that he never be paroled.”
Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) Chief Kenneth Small writes, “Robert Williams has not accepted full responsibility for killing Robert Hermann. He has not shown remorse for the murder. Robert Williams poses a threat to society if released. The Huntington Beach Police Department opposes any parole or any type of leniency for Robert Williams. Williams should serve his entire sentence for killing Hermann.”
Facts of the Case
In the evening of Nov. 7, 1970, Williams, then-18 years old, went to a female friend’s house, co-defendant Martha Riggs. He asked to borrow Riggs’ father’s .22 caliber pistol to murder 18-year-old Robert Hermann, a friend he wrongly believed had “snitched” to police that he was selling drugs, which had led to his arrest a month earlier. The inmate then armed himself with the firearm and went to Hermann’s home. He gained entry because Herman trusted him as a friend. Once inside the victim’s room, even after Hermann denied telling police about Williams’ drug transactions, the inmate shot him one time in the shoulder. He then put a pillow over Hermann’s face and fired the fatal second shot into the victim’s head before fleeing the scene.
After the murder, Williams went back to Riggs’ house to return the gun and bragged about murdering Hermann. At approximately 10:00 p.m. that evening, the victim’s parents returned home to find their son bleeding from his head due to the gunshot wounds inflicted by the inmate and called 911.
The victim was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival due massive brain hemorrhaging caused by the close-range gunshot wound.