Hearing for 1960s child-killer seeking release

generic Allegan County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Cronin

ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — A Wednesday hearing worked out the procedural schedule for a convicted child-killer who is seeking his freedom.

In the late 1960s, Theodore Williams admitted to murdering two girls, including 7-year-old Sonya Santa Cruz. He was labeled a criminal sexual psychopath under now-defunct Michigan law and sent to a state psychiatric facility.

Sonya Santa Cruz. (Courtesy photo circa 1967)
(Sonya Santa Cruz. Courtesy photo circa 1967.)

Now 75 years old, Williams is petitioning for release. He has asked the Allegan County Circuit Court to set a jury trial to determine if he can go free — but that’s not a sure thing.

Wednesday, Williams listened to an Allegan County court hearing via telephone from the Ypsilanti facility where he has been for decades.

The hearing was largely procedural. Lawyers worked with Judge Kevin Cronin to set deadlines to file paperwork and schedule later hearings.

All of that will lead up to a decision about whether Williams will get a jury trial.

If the trial is granted, a jury will decide whether the years of treatment Williams has undergone is enough to release him, or if he is still a danger to the public.

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