Trial begins for man accused of killing North Charleston couple


For the second time in a year, Rick Morrocco Williams is before a jury who will decide whether he is guilty of killing a North Charleston couple in their home in 2010 during a confrontation that involved a sword, a gun and a box cutter.

The trial for Williams, 27, of St. Stephen, began Wednesday in a Charleston County courtroom. Last February a judge declared a mistrial in the case after a juror withheld information during jury selection.

In opening arguments before a new jury, prosecutors with the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office accused Williams of shooting 58-year-old Nathaniel “Preston” Lonnie and 44-year-old Angela Ferguson in their heads on Dec. 31, 2010, at the couple’s home at 2110 Durant Ave.

Williams’ attorney, Beattie Butler, maintained that Williams killed the couple in self-defense amid a violent struggle.

Assistant Solicitor Michael Nelson told the jury that Williams was living with his girlfriend at the couple’s home. When his girlfriend’s stepfather, Lonnie, kicked Williams out over an argument, their dispute became violent, according to prosecutors.

A photo of a Lonnie’s car with smashed windows and shattered glass littering the asphalt was shown on the projection screen in court. Prosecutors said Williams used a baseball bat to pommel Lonnie’s car after the argument.

Lonnie chased Williams away with a sword he kept in his home, Nelson told the jury. But Williams did not stay away, he said. Instead, he came back to the home, according to Nelson.

“He put a bullet right into Preston Lonnie’s head,” he told the jury. He also shot Ferguson in the head, according to Nelson.

Butler told the jury that shooting the couple was an unfortunate choice Williams had to make in order to survive.

“The choice for Ricky was to shoot or to be sliced or skewered. The choice for Ricky was to fire his weapon or be cut or carved. The choice was that — to live or possibly die. He chose to live,” Butler told the jury during his opening statement.

When Lonnie came at Williams with a sword for a second time — this time inside the home — Williams shot him in the head, Butler said. He shot Ferguson because she tried to attack him with a box cutter, Butler said.

During opening statements, Nelson told the jury that neither the sword or box cutter were found next to Lonnie’s or Ferguson’s body. The trial is expected to resume today and continue through the rest of this week.

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