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Trial date set for alleged killer of Hudson man

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This file photo shows Carl “Pepe” Williams, left, who was arraigned in Columbia County Court in October 2015 after his indictment on a second-degree murder charge in connection with the death of Cory Velazquez. His attorney at the time, Garth Slocum, right, bottom, entered a not guilty plea. Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka, right, top, requested Williams be held without bail, which was granted.
October 13, 2017 - 12:33 am

HUDSON — A trial date has been set for Carl “Pepe” Williams, who is accused of killing a Hudson man in 2015.

Cory Velazquez, 27, died on Oct. 11, 2015 of blood loss and cardiac arrest from a knife wound to the throat, according to police.

Hudson police said the killing followed an argument between Velazquez and Williams.

Williams, who has been held in Columbia County Jail, was indicted by a Columbia County grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder, a class A1 felony.

A knife believed to be the murder weapon was found in a storm drain on 8th Street and two items of clothing allegedly connected to the killing were recovered from the trash, Chief L. Edward Moore said in October 2015.

Williams’s trial has been scheduled for April 9. Columbia County Judge Jonathan Nichols, who will preside during the trial, said proceedings could take up to three weeks.

A change in defense counsel and a large amount of evidence has delayed the trial, according to the attorneys in the case.

Velazquez’s mother, Zenaida Kameni, recently spoke publicly about her frustrations over the delay.

“It is going on two years, and for it to be a profile case, that is not acceptable,” she said in August.

Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka and Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty are prosecuting the case and were in court Thursday.

Williams’s trial was originally scheduled for this Sept. 11, but Williams has changed counsel once and is now being represented by Dennis Schlenker.

Schlenker said Thursday in court that the delay of the trial was not because his client has been denied a right to a speedy trial, but because of the profusion of evidence up for review.

“There is no speedy trial issue in this case,” Schlenker said. “I am prepared to set a trial date and discuss it today.”

More than 1,300 phone calls made while Williams was in jail are being reviewed by the defense and prosecution. Schlenker said his office has reviewed about 360 phone calls, each lasting, on average, about 20 minutes. There are also over 40 disks of evidence. Schlenker asked the court for an additional two weeks to continue reviewing all the evidence before moving on with a pre-trial hearing.

“It would not be necessary to go through each and every call,” he told Nichols. “We have 1,300-plus phone calls. It’s mind-numbing, judge. So if we can, [we want] to narrow down the calls. Mr. Carty has provided me with notebooks of logs of what the phone calls have been about and so forth.”

Before he adjourned for the day, Nichols said both attorneys “worked diligently” to review all 1,300 calls since their last appearance in court.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.