An Illinois man released from prison this week after serving 24 years for the brutal rape and murder of a 20-month-old baby says he’s innocent of the charges, but residents of his new neighborhood have launched a petition to force him to move, the News Herald reports.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Cayce M. Williams, 47, was released from Dixon Correctional Center on Thursday — the 24th anniversary of the death of Quortney Kley. Williams had been sentenced to 48 years in prison, the Daily Herald said, and will be on mandatory supervised release for three more years, during which time he must attend counseling and wear a device to monitor his whereabouts.
Williams spoke outside his brother’s home in Crystal Lake, where he will live, apologizing to his new neighbors for bringing “any discomfort” but saying he wants “to get out there that I am innocent of these charges.”
Curiously, Williams never appealed his conviction, although now he says that his confession — the day after the toddler’s death — was made under “great duress” and “there were big mistakes made in the charging processes.”
Williams said Quortney’s death was an “accident” that happened because he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol and panicked when the little girl stopped breathing. He explained that he tried CPR, but “I’m not really a small guy, so the pressure I was applying — obviously it was too much.”
Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser, who was elected to the post in November and worked in the office while Williams’s case was being prosecuted, said his claims are “not even remotely” true.
“The evidence showed that (Quortney) had major bruising to her abdomen, that there was a significant amount of bruising and injuries on her head — either of which could have caused her death — and that there also was evidence of sexual assault,” said Mosser, who said she wasn’t involved with the case when it happened but recently reviewed the file.
“He needs to take responsibility for what he did,” she said. “He took the life of a beautiful baby, and he did so in a traumatic and horrible way. The least he can do is let this family go on in peace and admit to what he did.”
Meanwhile, neighbors launched a Change.org petition to bar Williams from Crystal Lake. It had nearly 1,000 signatures by Friday evening, the Daily Herald said.
“What can we do?” said Beth Zender, one neighbor. “He has to live somewhere. It just kind of stinks that it’s across the street and a block away from the school.”
Williams’s next door neighbor, who asked not to be identified, cried when she pulled into her driveway on Friday.
“How do I explain this to my kids?” she asked. “They’re not going to sleep. I’m not going to sleep.”
The woman promptly got into a verbal argument with one of Williams’s relatives, shouting at one another from their respective lawns.
“I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be afraid, but he was falsely accused,” said Amber Robarge, Williams’ niece.
The neighbor, however, told the Daily Herald that she now has no choice but to move.
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[Feature Photo: Quortney Kley; Handout/Cayce Willians; Illinois Department of Corrections]