Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 7 (2000)

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Opinion of the Court

mattock and taken the money from his wallet.1 Id., at 4. In September 1986, Williams was convicted of robbery and capital murder.

At Williams' sentencing hearing, the prosecution proved that Williams had been convicted of armed robbery in 1976 and burglary and grand larceny in 1982. The prosecution also introduced the written confessions that Williams had made in April. The prosecution described two auto thefts and two separate violent assaults on elderly victims perpetrated after the Stone murder. On December 4, 1985, Williams had started a fire outside one victim's residence before attacking and robbing him. On March 5, 1986, Williams had brutally assaulted an elderly woman on West Green Street— an incident he had mentioned in his letter to the police. That confession was particularly damaging because other evidence established that the woman was in a "vegetative state" and not expected to recover. Id., at 60. Williams had also been convicted of arson for setting a fire in the jail while awaiting trial in this case. Two expert witnesses employed by the State testified that there was a "high probabil-1 " 'I had gone to Dee Dee Stone's house on Henry Street, Dee Dee's father was there. No one else was there except him. He had been drinking a lot. He was on the bed. He asked me if I wanted a drink. I told him, 'No.' I asked him if I could borrow a couple of dollars and he told me, 'No.' We started arguing and things started going around in my head. I just wanted to get back at him. I don't know what. He just laid back like he had passed out. He was laying there talking and moaning to himself. I went into the kitchen. I saw the butcher knife. I didn't want to use it. I was looking for something to use. I went into the bathroom and I saw the mattock. I picked up the mattock and I came back into the room where he was at. He was laying on the bed. He was laying on his back. I took the mattock and I hit him on the chest with it. He raised up and was gasping for his breath. He fell over to his side and I hit him in the back with the mattock. He fell back on the bed. I went and put the mattock back in the bathroom. I came back into the room. I took his wallet from his pocket. He had three dollars in it. I got the three dollars from it. I left him there. He was still grasping for breath.' " App. 4-5.

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