Tulsa judge orders a former newspaper carrier to be held without bond

Tuesday, November 22nd 2005, 9:56 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa judge revokes bond for a former newspaper deliveryman charged with trying to kill one of his customers.

Tulsa County District Court Judge Clifford Smith said there's nothing to ensure public safety if Paul Williford were released. Five witnesses testified Tuesday about the day Tulsa Police say Paul Williford strangled and sexually assaulted his 75 year-old victim.

She told her story in court and News on 6 anchor Tami Marler was there.

The victim told her story in chilling detail, about the early morning hours of October 21st, as she waited for her granddaughter to come pick her up. The victim said she had enough time to read the morning paper, but it wasn't on her porch, so she called her deliveryman, whom she identified as Paul Williford.

She said Williford showed up a few minutes later, and then complained that the porch light was attracting bugs, so he would like to come in. Once inside, the victim testified that Williford put his arms straight out and grabbed her throat. She said she tried to pull his hands down, but she couldn't. She said she couldn't breathe and she thought she was going to die. She didn't remember much more.

Victim’s granddaughter: "She was unconscious. She was unconscious next to a full tub of water, so I don't know if he was going to put her in it or what. I thought maybe she had gotten out of the water and slipped. That's what I had thought."

The granddaughter told the court the same thing she told us the day she found her grandmother lying in her bathroom floor. She also testified, while she was making the call to 911, she saw the defendant's face twice as he fled from the house.

Tulsa Police Sgt Gary Stansill testified that Williford told him he'd filled the bathtub, because he had a hard time strangling the victim, so he planned to drown her. A sexual assault nurse, who examined the victim, testified about her extensive injuries.

In the end, Judge Smith ruled the prosecution made its case. He believed there was probable cause to show the crimes occurred and that Paul Williford committed them.

In nearly five hours of interviews with Tulsa Police, Williford made a number of admissions, including telling detectives he killed two other women on his delivery route.

The defense made a motion to suppress Williford's statements to police, based on his history of mental illness and the fact that he'd admitted to drinking that morning. That request was denied.