The trial for a man accused of killing a Hutto police sergeant in 2015 by running over the officer with his own patrol car will start Tuesday in Williamson County district court.
Colby Williamson, 29, is charged with first-degree murder and faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted in the death of Hutto police Sgt. Chris Kelley on June 24, 2015. He will be the first person tried in the county for the killing of a law enforcement officer in more than 80 years, according to the district attorney’s office.
Moments before Kelley was killed, Hutto police had tried to pull Williamson over about 10 a.m., but he refused to stop, crashed his car into a fire hydrant and ran away, an arrest affidavit says.
Kelley, 38, caught up with him and tried to put handcuffs on him, but Williamson used his body to throw the sergeant off-balance, the affidavit says. Williamson then ran to Kelley’s patrol car and got in the driver’s seat, the document says.
Kelley followed and tried to stop Williamson from driving off by grabbing the steering wheel and stepping on the brake, according to the affidavit. It says Williamson put the car in reverse, the sergeant fell down, and Williamson ran him over.
Prosecutors filed a notice in July that if Williamson is found guilty, they intend to introduce evidence in the sentencing phase that he took methamphetamine three times in the 17 hours before running over the officer.
District Attorney Shawn Dick declined to comment about Williamson’s trial. One of Williamson’s lawyers, Joe James Sawyer, did not return a request for comment.
Williamson’s trial will be in the 368th District Court, presided over by Judge Rick Kennon. It is expected to last until early next week, Dick said.
Williamson does not face the death penalty because he was not charged with capital murder. Former District Attorney Jana Duty has said the grand jury did not indict Williamson on a capital murder charge because the crime did not meet the elements required for the offense.
Even though Texas is often seen as a “law and order enforcement state,” other people who killed police officers did not receive a death sentence, said Charley Wilkison, the executive director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas said.
Edwin Delamora received a life sentence for killing Travis County sheriff’s Deputy Keith Ruiz in 2001, Wilkison said, and Leander Floyd Jr. received a life sentence for killing San Antonio police officer Douglas Goeble in 1991.
Wilkison also said, “It was not unheard of to have cars used as a weapon against officers.”
Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins was shot and run over with a car in 2000 by seven men who had escaped from a Texas prison, Wilkison said.
The last trial for the killing of a law enforcement officer in Williamson County was after Lewis Cernock shot and killed City Marshal Henry Lindsey and Williamson County Precinct 2 Constable Sam Moore on Feb. 15, 1934, Dick said.
Moore had arrested Cernock for failing to pay a fine of $28.50 for disturbing the peace and use of abusive language to a woman. Cernock shot and killed Moore and Lindsey while they were trying to place him in a jail cell. He was convicted, given a death sentence and electrocuted in Huntsville in 1935.