Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Trial For James Willett's Murder

Michael Monfort and James Craig ultimately pleaded guilty for James Willett's murder but a jury was picked and the trial did open before a plea deal was reached.  The articles begin with Billy Goucher in June of 1973 pleading guilty to second degree murder in the death of James Willett.  Goucher agreed to the plea to reduce his charge from first degree murder and therefore do less prison time.  He also had to become a state's witness in the upcoming trial of Monfort and Craig in order for that plea to stand.

Almost six months later the trial for Monfort and Craig was ready to get underway.  Nancy Pitman and Priscilla Cooper were brought from Frontera to testify as witnesses.  There were the usual motions and protests voiced by the defense attorneys.  Along the way there were a couple of surprising twists and turns before the deal was done.