ESCONIDIDO — If Jeanette Lawrence had it her way, her now ex-husband would be dead instead of being on trial for her attempted murder, a defense attorney said during his opening argument April 15 in a Vista courtroom.
Defense attorney Herb Weston told jurors Lawrence had concocted an elaborate scheme to kill 45-year-old Tommy Lee Williams, which included getting him arrested and then having him murdered in jail with the help of her brother and son, who are both incarcerated.
“Things happen in custody,” Weston said. “They don’t investigate murders in jail.”
The key piece of evidence that links Lawrence to the alleged plot is a jail phone call between her and her brother in which the two talk about the murder being “green lighted” by her son’s prison skinhead gang Weston said.
After reading the aforementioned jail call transcript, Superior Court Judge Joan Weber assigned an attorney to Lawrence to inform her of her Fifth Amendment rights because she is expected to testify in the case.
Prosecutors paint a different story though.
Deputy District Attorney Marnie McGee told jurors that on Oct. 27, 2007, Williams attacked Lawrence in her Escondido apartment in the 600 block of Country Club Lane with a fork after diving head first through her bedroom window. The prosecutor said the attack lasted 45 minutes. During this time, McGee said Lawrence fled her house, but was dragged backed inside and beaten severely by Williams.
Williams is charged with a multitude of misdemeanor and felony counts relating to the incident, which include attempted murder and false imprisonment.
Weston said his client jumped through Lawrence’s window because she was threatening suicide and wouldn’t answer her phone or the door. Further, Weston said Lawrence’s injuries, lacerations to each hand, were not indicative of a prolonged attack.
“He didn’t know about her plot,” Weston said.
Williams remains in custody in lieu of $1,030,000 bail.