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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Florida's Treasure Coast

    TX - 19 illegal immigrants die in sealed trailer, Victoria, 14 May 2003

    HOUSTON (AP) -- The father of the truck driver convicted in the nation's deadliest human smuggling attempt pleaded for his son's life Friday, asking jurors not to choose the death penalty for the man he still remembers as "a loving kid."

    "I know the pain (the victims' families) are going through. I feel that pain. I'm asking for mercy," said Tyrone Williams Sr., whose son Tyrone Williams was convicted last month for his role in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants.

    He was the latest of several relatives to testify in the punishment phase of the retrial of the younger Williams - including his mother the day before, whose plea elicited tears from some jurors.

    Tyrone Williams Sr., a 62-year-old factory worker in Massachusetts, said he taught his son discipline and the value of education.

    Williams was convicted on 58 counts of conspiracy, harboring and transporting immigrants in his sweltering trailer, which he abandoned on the way from South Texas to Houston in 2003. Jurors must decide whether to sentence Williams to death or up to life in prison.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Excerpt from the book, "Dying to Cross," in which survivors described their ordeal inside the trailer:


    It had been just over an hour since the truck had departed Harlingen, and the situation was already dire, especially for five-year-old Marco Antonio Villaseñor. His father carried him from the center of the trailer to the back so that he could breathe. Despite the darkness, most of the immigrants could tell that the little boy was in bad shape.

    When the relative humidity is as high as it was on that May night — 93 percent, according to meteorological reports — perspiration does not evaporate as rapidly, so the body will not cool off and its temperature will not go down. That night, the immigrants felt as if their bodies had been coated with some kind of slick, slightly greasy substance. Their clothes were soaked through, and they could feel water swishing around inside their shoes.

    The truck’s movements gave many of them vertigo. They began to grow disoriented, and after a certain point, it wasn’t easy to know which way was up and which way was down. Then, of course, there was the psychological element. By their second hour inside the trailer, many of the immigrants were hyperventilating. The darkness, the fear, and the strange noises made by their fellow passengers only added to their anxiety, and their breathing grew faster and more labored. Hyperventilation and fear became a vicious and fatal cycle. Some people began to lose consciousness, and some vomited...

    It seems that only one person inside the trailer was carrying a cell phone: Matías Rafael Medina Flores, a 25-year-old Honduran who did not speak English... At first, he couldn’t get service, but after a little while, Matías was able to place a call to 911. After several tries, someone answered, but the operator didn’t speak Spanish. Apparently, an attempt was made to transfer the call to someone who did, but the connection was lost...
    From January 2011:


    A truck driver was resentenced to nearly 34 years in prison on Monday after a federal appeals court last year overturned the multiple life sentences he received for his role in America's deadliest human smuggling attempt...

    During the more than three-hour trip, [Tyrone] Williams never turned on the air conditioning in the airtight truck. As temperatures in the trailer skyrocketed to as high as 173 degrees Fahrenheit, the immigrants kicked walls, clawed at insulation, broke out tail lights and screamed for help. Despite stopping the vehicle twice during the trip and realizing that the immigrants were in danger, Williams didn't let them out...

    Besides Williams, 13 others were indicted in the case. Two had charges against them dismissed, one who cooperated with prosecutors was sentenced to the three days in jail she served after her arrest and the others were given sentences ranging from 14 months to 23 years in prison.