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Murder convict asks for new trial in Peppers Market shooting
New attorney claims old attorney was impaired
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Video evidence and a trial attorney’s effectiveness were at the center of testimony Tuesday in a motion for a new trial for a man convicted last year of murder.

Joseph Scott Williams, 33, of Gainesville, was convicted in June 2014 of shooting and killing Adrian Thompson on June 3, 2013, outside Peppers Market on E.E. Butler Parkway in Gainesville.

Williams and his new attorney, R. Allen Hunt, filed motions to have a new trial based on the alleged ineffectiveness of attorney Travis Williams at the 2014 trial.

“Trial Attorney Travis Williams’ effectiveness as a criminal defense attorney was so impaired as a result of the consumption of alcohol or other substances, both before and during trial, that he was ineffective as a criminal defense attorney and (Joseph Williams) did not receive a fair trial,” according to the motions.

Travis Williams, who Hunt said was served a subpoena for Tuesday’s proceedings, denied the allegations earlier this month when speaking to The Times.

“Anybody that would make that unfounded and false accusation against somebody lacks professionalism,” Travis Williams said.

Travis Williams was not present in Superior Court Judge Jason Deal’s courtroom Tuesday.

Northeastern Judicial Circuit Public Defender Brad Morris, who served as Travis Williams’ boss for about seven years, testified Tuesday that Travis Williams left the public defender’s office sometime in July. Morris characterized Travis Williams’ work with the office as a “very successful fashion for a longer period than most” of his attorneys.

“In my estimation, Travis Williams worked harder than anyone in this courtroom,” Morris said.
Assistant Public Defender Rose Priddy, having worked with Travis Williams during the initial trial, took the stand following Morris.

Priddy said she never detected the smell of alcohol and added that if anyone in the courtroom had a suspicion, it would have been addressed immediately.

During testimony Tuesday, Joseph Williams’ mother Mary Williams said she and others saw a video in the public defender’s office that never appeared in the courtroom.

Mary Williams and another witness said the video had a closer view of the action outside the grocery store and showed Thompson reaching for something in his car, which Mary Williams said she believed to be a gun.

Assistant District Attorney Shiv Sachdeva focused on one question in his cross-examination of Mary Williams: Did she see Thompson with a gun in his hand? Mary Williams said she did not see a gun.

Hunt attempted to call another witness who was being transported by the Georgia Department of Corrections, but the witness did not arrive on time. The case was put on hold and did not finish Tuesday, according to Deal’s office.

A representative from Deal’s office said the hearing has not been scheduled as of Tuesday afternoon.

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