Jury gets case in Williams’ slaying

A man accused of firing the shots that killed Denver Broncos

cornerback Darrent Williams lived in a gang culture where an insult

following a confrontation in a nightclub proved to be enough to

send him into a murderous rage, prosecutors said Tuesday.

“He wouldn’t take a fist fight he can’t win, but he’d take a

gun fight he can’t lose,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Bruce

Levin said of Willie Clark during closing statements in the

26-year-old’s trial.

Clark faces 21 charges, including first-degree murder, attempted

murder and assault in the New Year’s Day 2007 shooting. Two others

were injured in the shooting that killed Williams, a rising star in

the NFL in late 2006. Jurors were to begin deliberations Wednesday


Clark’s attorney, Abraham Hutt, said the evidence presented

during the trial pointed to Clark not being in a white SUV from

which more than a dozen gunshots were fired into the rented Hummer

limousine carrying Williams and other football players.

“This is what this is about: Willie Clark is a scapegoat,”

Hutt told jurors, pointing to deals cut by prosecutors that reduced

prison sentences for five witnesses by a total of 188 years in

exchange for testimony.

Hutt said the prosecution’s star witness, Daniel “Ponytail”

Harris, had faced a life sentence for a drug charge but will be

released within two years. Harris testified that he saw Clark fire

the shots.

Prosecutors say Williams and the others in the limousine had

just left a nightclub where they got into an altercation with a

group that included Clark, a suspected gang member.

The altercation started when a member of Williams’ group sprayed

champagne on New Year’s partiers, prosecutors said.

But Chief Deputy District Attorney Timothy Twining said

testimony during the trial showed Clark was out for a fight,

walking around a house earlier that night in a bulletproof vest,

waving a gun, then confronting Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon

Marshall outside a nightclub as the Broncos’ entourage was waved

through the VIP entrance.

“We street. … We got money, too,” Twining quoted Clark as

telling Marshall outside the club. “The thing about the champagne?

It’s a so what.”

During a confrontation on the sidewalk outside the club after

closing time, Marshall went up Clark with his hands up and may have

hit Clark on the head, sending Clark into a murderous rage, Twining


“It was this man, who indiscriminately, with universal

maliciousness … took it upon himself to unload his .40-caliber

handgun into that limousine full of innocent people,” Twining said

of Clark.