Jurors Begin Deliberations in Immigrant Smuggling Trial

Jurors in penalty phase of the retrial of convicted human smuggler Tyrone Williams resume deliberations this morning after spending most of Tuesday discussing his punishment. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams.

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The same jury convicted Williams last month on 58 counts of conspiracy, including 20 counts that carry the possibility of the death penalty. Jurors could also sentence him to life in prison, or could let the judge in the case sentence him under federal guidelines. Williams' attorney Craig Washington says the fact jurors are taking their time is good for his client.

"I think the fact that they took a long in deciding that he was guilty bodes well for us and I think that that means, you know, I've never been a juror but if I were a juror and I had a hard time being convinced that he was guilty to begin with, I sure as hell would have a hard time sentencing that same person to death when I had lingering doubts about whether I did the right thing about him being guilty."

Williams mother, Dorothy Williams, says her son is a good man.

"I wish the judge and the jury could meet him in a different setting. He's a loving brother, a good husband and a good father. Also a good and loving son."

Prosecutors in the case aren't commenting on the trial until after the sentencing. In 2003, 19 illegal immigrants in the back of Williams truck died on a smuggling run from Harlingen that ended at a Victoria truck stop.

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