Simmons' jailhouse letter tells Williams to 'stay quiet'

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - In a second day of testimony, prosecutors focused on a jailhouse letter allegedly written by the man accused of shooting a sheriff's deputy in the chest and face several times.

Curtis Williams told the courtroom that Brandon Simmons sent him a letter when they were both being housed in the Charleston County Detention Center. The letter told Williams to stay quiet and to destroy the letter after reading it.

"Listen, all you need to say is you been in the yard and the police tried to roll on you, you don't know why or nothing. You run cause you had heard," Williams read in court.

"If they're holding you for information why the [expletive] would you tell them something that gonna get you locked up? Duh. Watch how the [expletive] you talk on the phone. They're checking that [expletive] for real," Williams read in another excerpt.

Williams has already testified that he was with Simmons the morning of the shooting and that Simmons had a gun. He told the jury that Simmons sent him letters in jail telling him to keep quiet.

Williams, who is facing a charge for withholding information, said he hopes his charge will be dropped, and he wants to turn his life around.

The jury has been absent from the courtroom for most of the day as attorneys discuss allowing text messages to be heard. Defense attorneys also needed time to hear audio evidence that was new to them.

Simmons is facing assault and battery with intent to kill and possession of a firearm during a violent crime charges. Investigators found him hiding out in a rusty old car on James Island after the shooting.

He could face up to 20 years for the assault charge and another five years for the weapons charge. He would have to serve 85 percent of the sentence, if convicted.

Deputy Jeffrey DeGrow was shot in the face and arm multiple times in January. The shooting happened after he responded to a burglary call on Grimball Road on James Island. He has since retired from Charleston County Sheriff's Office, and in court Monday, he wore and patch over his right eye, which was injured during the shooting. He is expected to testify this week.

DeGrow identified Simmons as the shooter in a lineup, but public defender Beattie Butler argued Monday that DeGrow did not match the suspect's description of his attacker when he was found. Butler says DeGrow said his attacker was wearing all black with a goatee, but when investigators found Simmons in hiding, he had on a polo, khakis and had a full beard.

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Copyright 2010 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Copyright WCSC 2010. All rights reserved.