Williams hearing in recess

Proceedings being held to determine if inmate intellectually disabled

WARREN — The hearing to determine whether death row inmate Andre Williams is severely intellectually disabled will be in recess until Jan. 3.

The hearing began Nov. 14 before Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge W. Wyatt McKay, but could not continue this week because of scheduling conflicts, according to court officials.

The U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals ordered the hearing after issuing a temporary stay of execution for Williams pending the outcome.

Williams, 49, was sentenced to death in the Feb. 17, 1989, beating death of George Melnick, 65, of Warren, and the beating, blinding and attempted rape of Melnick’s wife, Katherine. He has lost a series of appeals in an effort to get off death row.

McKay will make the determination about Williams’ status after the hearing. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it’s unconstitutional to execute someone who is severely intellectually disabled.

Testimony of state witness Dr. Carla S. Dreyer, a forensic psychologist, ended about 1:30 p.m. Friday, and McKay decided that the state shouldn’t call another witness. Assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor LuWayne Annos said another expert witness, Dr. Thomas G. Gazley of the Forensic Psychiatric Center of Northeast Ohio Inc., is expected to testify when the hearing resumes.

Annos said she expects to call other witnesses, including personnel from prisons where Williams has been housed in Chillicothe and Mansfield.

Dreyer testified she interviewed Williams and gave him an adaptive behavioral test that he scored 79 on, 14 points higher than the same test administered by defense expert Cynthia Hartung. The state generally considers IQ tests of below 70 to indicate a severe mental disability.