Human cargo smuggler's attorney points to another as real culprit

| 10/23/2006

In Houston, Oct. 23 was opening day in the retrial of a trucker who's accused of being responsible for the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants in the back of a semi trailer. According to the media outlets, while Tyrone Williams is the only one of 14 defendants who faces the death penalty, Williams' lawyer will blame another.

The jury in his first trial convicted trucker Tyrone Williams of smuggling but failed to comply with the judge's instruction that they also determine how important a role he played in the overall smuggling operation.

The Houston Chronicle reported Monday, Oct. 23, that Williams' attorney argues that "the real culprit" is Abelardo Flores, who has pleaded guilty to smuggling charges. On Monday, Craig Washington told jurors that Flores was the one who closed the doors to the truck.

The Chronicle also reported that in the opening statement of Williams' attorney, Washington told jurors that Williams thought he was hauling about 17 people, not the more than 100 who were "crammed into his trailer one night in May 2003."

After Williams abandoned the truck, some escaped, but 19 of the immigrants died of overheating or suffocation.