Friday, April 9, 2010

Man Acquitted For Drinking Coffee in Home While Naked

FAIRFAX, Va. - The jury deliberated for less than 20 minutes. They returned to the courtroom and declared Erick Williamson not guilty of indecent exposure.

One juror said she had a hard time not laughing during some of the testimony. Another juror said "it was easy."

But it has not been easy for Williamson. Police entered his Springfield home with guns drawn last October. He has spent months fighting the charge in court. His feeling Wednesday was of "relief, unbelievable, weight off my shoulders after six months."

Williamson acknowledges that he was naked inside his home on the day in question. His accuser, Yvette Dean, says she made eye contact with Williamson while he was standing naked in the doorway. She was walking her son to school. She testified that she gave Williamson the finger and had to shelter her son with her coat so that he could not see Williamson.

The defendant testified he never saw them and was busy drinking coffee and packing to move out of the house.

"I was not interested in exhibiting myself to anybody on the street, but in hindsight, now that that's happened, I won't have an open window in my house," said Williamson.

A judge convicted him in Fairfax County's General District Court. The appeal to county’s circuit court brought with it a jury.

Indecent exposure requires the government to prove intent. One juror said the prosecutor did not do that.

"People from the community are important to sit in judgment of people - not prosecutors, not judges, not police officers because absent these people from the community, he'd have this conviction over his head for the rest of his life," said defense attorney Dickson Young.

Williamson says the charge has created issues in the custody of his daughter and cost him his job. He has been living in Newport News, Va.

He hopes to get the case expunged, so he has a clean record. As for his accuser, she testified in court Wednesday, but has chosen not to talk to the media about the case.

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