Lake County man accused of killing elderly woman to defend self

Donald Williams faces death penalty in 2010 slaying of 81-year-old woman

Published On: Apr 03 2013 05:05:29 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 03 2013 06:40:25 PM EDT
Donald Williams
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. -

A man who is accused of kidnapping an elderly woman from a grocery store and killing her in 2010 has fired his lawyers and plans to represent himself.

52-year-old Donald Williams was caught on surveillance video leaving a Leesburg Publix with 81-year-old Janet Patrick, who he had just met. About a week later, police found Patrick's body in Poinciana woods.

The trial for Williams, who could face the death penalty, begins in less than two weeks. He told the court he plans to tell jurors he was temporarily insane at the time he allegedly kidnapped and murdered Patrick.

Williams underwent a mental health evaluation earlier this year, where a judge ruled he was competent to stand trial and competent to defend himself. Williams fired his public defender and will act as his own attorney.

Last week, Williams issued subpoenas to two Lake County doctors who specialize in sleep disorders.

"Sleep disorders for myself have been clear for 40 years," Williams said in court. "Weeks at a time I've been awake."

The judge ruled that the doctors would not have to testify, in part because they have never spoken to Williams and do not want to assist him as expert witnesses.

Williams continued, saying he wasn't thinking clearly when he gave statements to police and media.

In a jailhouse interview, Williams said he was present when Patrick was murdered in the woods but says someone else did it, calling it a carjacking. He said while Patrick was giving him a ride home another man carjacked the two of them, tied them up and locked them in the trunk. The gunman then beat Patrick and forced Williams to dispose of her body, he said.

Williams said on Wednesday he no longer wants jurors to hear that version of the story, instead saying a brain injury may be to blame for his actions.