The tall, athletic middle school teacher was killed by his boyfriend of 2 years, 20 year old Lawrence Hunt. Of that, there is no doubt at this point. Hunt has claimed self-defense, stating he was trying to avoid a sudden, unwanted, forced rape.
Hunt claims the LC Swain Middle school special education teacher became angry, and then tried to rape him. According to the Riviera Beach police affidavit: “Williams allegedly climbed onto Hunt’s back and began to pull his basketball shorts off, while stating ’I’m (going to) get that a–.”
Shortly after, cops say Hunt shot Williams to death.
Meanwhile, it is a story that has best been covered by New Times Magazine’s Lisa Rab, whose latest piece raises the legal and ethical questions of asserting a defense based on the fear of contracting HIV.
“It’s unclear whether these allegations are true; autopsy reports don’t mention Williams’ HIV status, but police did find HIV medication in his bedroom ,” Rab reports. But the law in Florida is clear, she accurately writes, “Williams’ HIV status alone is not a legal justification to use deadly force.”
In Florida, you can shoot someone in self-defense only if you believe the action is necessary to prevent “imminent death,” “great bodily harm,” or a “forcible felony,” such as rape.
Rab interviewed one of Broward County’s most respected chief assistant state attorneys on the issue, homicide prosecutor Charles Morton. He told her “The fact that you think that you’re going to contract a disease from someone is not a legal ground to use deadly force.”
In this case, however, Hunt is arguing that Williams tried to spontaneously force himself on him after the heated confrontation about HIV. If that is the case, Morton told Rab, “the forcible rape does give you the legal right to defend yourself using equal force or deadly force.”
Rab, who has been steadfastly following the case on her New Times blog, has noted that Williams was once accused of exposing himself to a male student at Palm Beach Lakes High, favored younger men, and was seen frequenting Dolce, a popular gay club in West Palm Beach. Williams, though, the reporter found out, was open about his sexuality with friends, including the men he played cards with the night before he was killed.
New Times followed this story with a cover story bringing to light a “harsh truth about AIDS among African-American men. For many in South Florida, sex on the down-low is a deadly gamble.”
In 2008, 1 in 31 black men in Palm Beach County had HIV or AIDS, eight times the rate for white men. In Broward, the statistic was 1 in 41 black men; in Miami-Dade, 1 in 29.
The links to the outstanding New Times features can be found athttp://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/juice
Meanwhile, the case against Hunt is pending. He remains in custody, on no bond, while facing second degree murder charges.
From the New Times Report:
African-American ministers tell their flocks they’re going to hell if they have HIV. Some people don’t believe white doctors who warn them about the disease. And for gay men, admitting their true feelings can mean getting kicked out of the house or rejected by their families. It all leads to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude, so that many men hide their HIV status.