Jury finds Victor Williams, 43, guilty of statutory rape of teen, not guilty of higher rape charge

The prosecution had argued that defendant Victor Williams had drugged the teen, then raped him while the teen was incapacitated. The jury found him not guilty on that charge.

Victor Williams testifies Oct. 25. Photo by Jonathan Simmons
Victor Williams testifies Oct. 25. Photo by Jonathan Simmons
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A Flagler County jury of three men and three women found Victor Williams, 43, guilty Oct. 25 of statutory rape of a 16-year-old boy he'd met on the gay hookup app Grindr, but not guilty of the higher charge of raping the teen while the teen was incapacitated. 

The jury deliberated for approximately two hours and five minutes before coming to its verdict. It also found Williams not guilty on a third charge — that of having sexual intercourse without informing the teen that he was HIV positive.

The charge of raping the teen while he was incapacitated, for which the jury found Williams not guilty, would have carried a sentence of life in prison. The statuary rape charge for which he was convicted carries a maximum of 15 years in prison.

"The sex happened. [The victim] never consented to it. He was never told Williams was HIV positive, and [Williams] is guilty of all three charges," Assistant State Attorney Melissa Clark said to the jury during her closing argument.

There was no question about whether the statutory rape had occurred when the teen went to Williams' house the night of Sept. 10, 2018: Williams had admitted to it.

But he'd argued that the teen was not incapacitated — although Williams admitted he'd given him alcohol and marijuana, and that the teen had been "wobbly" on his feet even the day after — and denied that he'd neglected to tell the teen that Williams was HIV positive. He said the teen had never spent time at his house prior to that night.

Circuit Judge Terence Perkins speaks with Assistant State Attorney Melissa Clark and defense attorney Regina Nunnally. Photo by Jonathan Simmons
Circuit Judge Terence Perkins speaks with Assistant State Attorney Melissa Clark and defense attorney Regina Nunnally. Photo by Jonathan Simmons

His attorney, public defender Regina Nunnally, argued that the teen had used her client as a scapegoat: The teen's parents were angry at the teen after they found him unconscious outside their front door the morning of Sept. 11, so the teen made up a story about having been drugged and raped, she said.

She pointed out the teen's own apparent lies: He's stated untruthfully on the app, Grindr, that he was 18. He'd accused Williams of inflicting on him a number of scuffs and scrapes that were noted during a rape examination, but those scrapes were absent in a photograph of him sprawled at his parents' doorstep on Sept. 11, the morning after the rape.

As to the statutory rape charge, Nunnally began to talk to the jury about the "spirit of the law" versus the "letter of the law" when Clark, the prosecutor, objected. 

Nunnally, after the jury had been led out of the room so that the attorneys could confer with the judge outside of the jury's presence, said the jury could engage in jury nullification.

Judge Terence Perkins replied, "You get to argue the facts. You get to argue the law. ... What you don't get to argue ... is that somehow this jury doesn’t have to follow the law that I’m going to instruct them. That’s wrong. It's dead wrong."

The victim, now 17, had taken the stand on the first day of testimony, telling the court that he'd met up with Williams to get alcohol and marijuana, not for sex, and that he'd been to Williams' home multiple times in the past to smoke pot and drink alcohol.

The night of Sept. 10, Williams had given him alcohol and marijuana and allowed him to take a Xanax pill, the teen said. The teen then lost consciousness, he said, waking twice to find Williams performing sex acts on him. The next thing he remembered was being at home.

His parents had found him passed out on the porch by their front door in the morning, his shorts on backwards. His mother dragged him into the house. 

The memories of the rape came flooding back, the teen said, when he was in the shower later that day. He told his mother he thought he'd been drugged and raped.

His mother hunted the neighborhood for Williams, and found his home — Williams himself was not there — which had his phone number posted to the exterior.

She called him repeatedly, and, during a call recorded by law enforcement, William admitted to having had sex with the teen, but insisted it had been consensual.

The teen's mother also asked Williams if he had any STDs. He said no. That was a lie: He was being treated for HIV.

DNA testing found Williams' DNA on the teen's underwear, and blood testing found alcohol, marijuana and Xanax in the teen's blood.

Medical records showed that Williams was being treated for HIV through the Florida Department of Health in Duval County.

Williams contradicted himself multiple times between his interviews with police detectives, his recorded call with the victim's mother, and his statements in court.

He'd told the victim's mother that the sexual activity took place in his living room, but told detectives it occurred in the bedroom. He'd told the teen's mother that he'd worn a condom with the teen, but admitted to detectives — after being confronted with the fact that the teen had been swabbed for DNA evidence — that he'd removed the condom during the sex acts. He denied he'd had any pills in the house, but later admitted to having Xanax. He at one point told detectives the teen had only had some alcohol, but later admitted that the teen had also smoked marijuana.

In court, he made statements that Clark pointed to as implausible. He admitted to having HIV while simultaneously denying he had a sexually transmitted disease. He said he was uncomfortable giving the teen alcohol — that he'd poured out some Four Loko malt beverage the teen had been drinking —  because it was illegal for someone under 21 to have alcohol. But, moments later, he admitted to having given the teen marijuana.

"So, you were not comfortable with him drinking alcohol, but you were totally comfortable with him smoking marijuana," Clark said. 

"Yes," Williams replied.

But the charge that Williams had not told the teen that Williams had HIV came down to the defendant's word versus the teen's, and expert pharmacological witnesses called by the state and the defense contradicted each other on whether the drugs and alcohol the teen had taken that night would have been sufficient to cause him to become incapacitated.

Williams will be sentenced by Perkins on Friday, Jan. 10.


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