36-year Nevada death row inmate gets new hearing | NevadaAppeal.com

36-year Nevada death row inmate gets new hearing

Cy Ryan
Special to the Appeal

A study by the Crime and Justice Institute says even as the nation is putting fewer people in prison, Nevada is putting more behind bars and keeping them there longer.

A man convicted of fatally stabbing a pregnant woman 38 times during a home burglary in Reno is going to get a new hearing on his death sentence.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeals on Tuesday granted the petition of Cary W. Williams who maintained his attorney was deficient during the penalty hearing before three judges in Washoe County.

Williams pleaded to the killing of Katherine Carlson who was alone in her home on June 27, 1982. Her husband, a firefighter was gone that night.

The court said Williams, who was 18 at the time, believed the home was empty. He had been in several other home burglaries when the residents were away,

Carlson was in the bedroom and heard Williams enter. He took a butcher knife and there was a struggle before the victim was stabbed.

Williams then took money, a camera, jewelry and a .22 caliber pistol before fleeing. He was captured in Los Angeles while trying to pawn some of the jewelry.

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In ordering a new penalty hearing, the appeals court said the attorney for Williams failed to present "substantial and mitigating evidence" involving his abuse and traumatic childhood.

His mother died at an early age and he was shuffled from home to home and school to school in a violent section of Los Angeles, according to the appeals court.

He has been on death row 36 years.