19 November 2018 :
The U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeals granted the petition of Cary W. Williams who maintained his attorney was deficient during the penalty hearing of his case. Williams, now 54, Black, was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel in Washoe County in 1983 after pleading guilty to the June 27, 1982 torture and murder of a pregnant nurse, Katherine Carlson. The court said Williams, who was 18 at the time, believed the home was empty. He had been in several other home burglaries when the residents were away. Carlson was in the bedroom and heard Williams enter. He took a butcher knife and there was a struggle before the victim was stabbed. Williams then took money, a camera, jewelry and a .22 caliber pistol before fleeing. He was captured in Los Angeles while trying to pawn some of the jewelry. In ordering a new penalty hearing, the appeals court said the attorney for Williams failed to present "substantial and mitigating evidence" involving his abuse and traumatic childhood. His mother died at an early age and he was shuffled from home to home and school to school in a violent section of Los Angeles, according to the appeals court. He has been on death row 36 years.