Jury deliberating in trial of man accused of burying son in trash can

Closing arguments underway in homicide by child abuse trial
Roger Williams
Roger Williams
Grace Trotman
Grace Trotman
Roger and Rodricus Williams.
Roger and Rodricus Williams.

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A jury is now deliberating following closing arguments in a trial of a man accused of burying his son head-first in a cement-filled trash.

Roger Williams is accused of dumping the body of Rodricus Williams in a trash can and filling it with cement.

The jury can consider three different charges for Williams which are homicide by child abuse, aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct towards a child.

Williams' defense attorney James Falk said in closing arguments that Williams is guilty of desecration of a body and nothing more. Falk told jurors that it was Williams' ex-girlfriend, Grace Trotman, who was responsible for Rodricus' death.

Prosecutors told jurors that Williams beat his child continuously and those injuries led to the boy's death. Prosecutors ended closing arguments showing a photo of Rodricus and asking the jury to use common sense.

Evidence presented throughout the week included video of Williams buying cement and a trash can from a local hardware store.

On Wednesday, a recorded phone call between Williams and his ex-girlfriend's sister, Ramona Smith, was played for jurors Wednesday morning. On the recorded conversation, Williams admitted that he hit Rodricus so hard that the boy's chest was bruised.

Williams then admits in the call that he was scared when he found his son unresponsive and tried to give his son CPR.

In another recorded interview played to jurors, Williams recounts to a Berkeley County Sheriff's detective what happened just before and after the day Rodricus died.

Williams says he rushed home from work after hearing his son was unresponsive. He said the boy seemed "out of life."

Then he and then girlfriend, Grace Trotman, chose not to call an ambulance, according to authorities. In the recording, Williams admitted to dumping his son's body in a cement filled trash can and taking it to the woods near Vance, SC.

"I got scared. I looked at Grace, the first thing I said, 'We're two good people, I don't believe this is happening to us,'" Williams said in the recording. "There's no way. I look at her and say 'What do you want to do? What do you want to do now?'"

One thing that Williams did not admit to in the recording is abusing the child. Authorities say Williams told the detective that Rodricus had fallen down the stairs the week before and that he had been playing rough with his older sister which he said may have caused the boy's head injuries.

On Tuesday, Trotman took the stand and testified that she witnessed the Williams physically and emotionally abuse his son.

Trotman said she saw Williams abuse his son when she was living in Williams' home. Trotman said she observed Williams hit his son numerous times with closed fists.

Trotman also testified that after Rodricus suffered a seizure, Roger Williams would not let her call an ambulance. Trotman said Rodricus' seizure happened after she hit the 2-year-old on his arm which caused his head to hit a wall.

She testified Williams got a trash can, filled it with cement and water, and dropped Rodricus in head-first. Trotman said they used a rental truck to transport the trash can to an abandoned mobile home near Bowman in Orangeburg County, where they left it.

Trotman said Williams then told her to tell police Rodricus fell into the water on The Battery in downtown Charleston.

Williams is charged with homicide by child abuse for the 2010 death of his son and faces 20 years to life in prison. 

According to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, Roger Williams posted a $250,000 bond back in April 2011. He also faces a charge of obstruction of justice in Charleston County in connection with the case, but that will not be addressed at this trial.

In February 2011, Williams' girlfriend, Grace Trotman pleaded guilty for her part in the death of Rodricus.

Trotman admitted to an FBI agent that she made up the missing child story to cover up the child's death. In an affidavit, Roger Williams acknowledged the boy had an ongoing health condition that needed to be monitored. However, when Rodricus Williams fell ill, he instructed Trotman not to contact health care providers. He admitted to investigators he did not call for medical help either.

Trotman led authorities to the abandoned mobile home where they found the child's body inside a trash can filled with cement.

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