The Long Island, N.Y., woman accused of hiring a supposed hit man for $20,000 to kill her estranged husband has been released from jail after an appeals court reduced her bail last week.
The decision came on the heels of prosecutors' releasing more details about Susan Williams' alleged attempt to have her husband, Peter Williams, killed. Williams has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy in the second-degree and criminal solicitation in the second-degree.
"She's obviously ecstatic to be at liberty today," her lawyer, John Carman, said Friday to reporters outside Nassau County Jail. "She looks forward to being at home to see her children."
Williams, a Garden City mother of four, was released a day after her lawyer appealed to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, to reduce her bond to $500,000.
Bail was originally set at $1 million bond or $500,000 cash by Nassau County Judge Joseph Calabrese, who had denied a March 10 request to lower it.
Carman argued before the appeals court judges Thursday that Williams, 43, had undergone a hysterectomy in 2008, after being diagnosed with cervical cancer, and that she needed to be free to see doctors.
"Obviously, her incarceration renders her unable to see doctors during this critical period after cancer surgery," according to court filings.
Assistant District Attorney Jane Zwirn-Turkin argued at the March 10 hearing, and again Thursday, that Williams was a flight risk because of the calculation she is accused of exhibiting while allegedly planning her husband's killing.
"She had been discussing if she should go to her husband's funeral, how should she look and react when cops came to her house and told her that her husband was killed," Carol Trottere of the Nassau County District Attorney's Office said of Williams alleged discussion that was recorded by an undercover Nassau County detective posing as a hit man.
Zwirn-Turkin alleged in court that Williams had also started thinking about destroying her computer and phone to cover up evidence.
The DA's office also released new details about Williams' alleged recorded conversation with the undercover detective.
"The undercover officer gave the petitioner a sum of $20,000 to kill her husband, to which she replied, 'That's it?' and laughed," according to the court filings.
The filings also allege that Williams talked about not being able to sleep at night because, "I want to make sure that when the cops come to my house, I know the proper, ya know, espression and what not to say and what to say when they come to me."
Williams allegedly agreed that the undercover officer would orchestrate an accident that would cause the death of Peter Williams, court papers note. Susan and Peter Williams have been in divorce proceedings since 2008.
As part of the argument Thursday against bail reduction, prosecutor Zwirn-Turkin also cited data retrieved from Williams' computer allegedly indicating that she had been searching online for stories such as "Fugitive ex-wife in Tucson killing caught," and "Austrian police arrest an American woman sought in connection with the killing of her ex-husband, who died when a bomb exploded in his car more than a decade ago."
Prosecution Confident in Its Case
"The petitioner had considered both the consequences of having her husband disposed of as well as evading arrest," according to the court filings.
Her lawyer, Carman, reportedly said in court Thursday that Williams may have had a "daydream" about hurting Peter that she took too far but that she never would have carried though with the act.
Williams, whose children range in age 11 to 19, has been accused of asking private detective Joe LaBella to refer her to a hit man to kill her husband.
Instead, prosecutors say, LaBella, a former police detective himself, put her in touch with an undercover police officer, who allegedly recorded Williams as she worked out having her husband killed. Williams was arrested March 4 after allegedly handing over $500 for a down payment on the hit.
Despite Williams' release from jail, according to Trotter of the Nassau County DA's office, the prosecution remains confident in their case.
"The strength of the evidence will determine the outcome of this case, not the bail status," Trotter said.