THE COURT: All right, sir. On behalf of the defendant, evidence?
MR. LLOYD: Yes, Your Honor. Defense would call Mrs. Helen Williams to the stand, please.
(Whereupon, the witness was first duly sworn.)
HELEN WILLIAMS, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows during DIRECT EXAMINATION by
Q. Mrs. Williams, would you state your name for the jury, please.
A. Helen Williams.
Q. All right. And where do you live, Mrs. Williams?
A. 6328 Monnett Road, Climax, North Carolina.
Q. And are you employed now, Mrs. Williams?
A. No. I'm retired.
Q. All right. And what did you do before you were retired?
A. We made wood louvers.
Q. And do you know Ronnie Kimble, the defendant in this case?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. And how do you know him?
A. I guess I met Ronnie through going to Monnett Road Baptist Church. I've known him for over eleven years.
Q. And did you have any contact with Ronnie other than through the church?
A. Oh, yes. Ronnie helped me probably from the time he was 14 until he entered the Marines.
Q. All right. When you say helped, what do you mean by that, Mrs. Williams?
A. Basically, mostly outdoors. Repairing lawn mowers. Mowing. Maintenance. Anything -- actually anything, including carrying the grandchildren to the dentist.
Q. And was he paid for that?
A. Oh, yes.
Q. All right. And how did you pay him,
A. I paid Ronnie by the hour. As a matter of
fact -- and I really can't remember whether I sought out Ronnie to get him to help me or whether he -- it was just generally known that he was a willing worker. But one of my memories is that I didn't have time -- it wasn't like that Ronnie was working for the company and used the time clock. So I told him early on that I
would just get him to keep up with his time daily and at the end of every week I would settle up with him. And I let him know, you know, that I really just didn't have time to do that. But knowing that you -- I really felt like I could trust him, and knowing that you really should keep a check on kids, I did for the first two or three weeks. I kept a check on Ronnie's time. And every week, when he would bring me his time, it was to the minute.
Q. All right. So you were kind of looking over his
shoulder even though you told him he could keep his own time?
Q. And during that time when you were checking on him, you didn't see any evidence that he had fudged on his time at all?
A. None whatsoever.
Q. All right.
A. As a matter of fact, if he knocked off five minutes to do something for himself that I didn't even know about, he would deduct that. I was very much impressed.
Q. Now, you spoke of the business. Were you helping your husband with the business -‑
Q. -- that you-all have?
Q. So basically you were involved in the running of that business?
A. Yes. Uh-huh.
Q. How many employees did you-all have, Mrs. Williams?
A. Oh, it varied. From two to twelve.
Q. Now, how would you describe Ronnie as a worker?
A. Absolutely the most cheerful, willing worker
I've ever met in my life. I had a half a dozen kids of my own, so all during the fifties and sixties and seventies, I've had occasion to know a lot of kids. My kids' friends and relatives, and whatnot. And I can truthfully say that in all the years that I knew Ronnie, he was beyond the shadow of a doubt the nicest kid I ever knew.
Q. Now, Mrs. Williams, did there come a time when you were asked to sign on a note for Ronnie?
A. Yes. I think Ronnie was 17, and he was going to buy a truck, and I didn't have any hesitancy whatsoever being willing to cosign the note for him. And when that note was -- in the meantime, I didn't hear -- I had -‑ he was meeting his payments and everything.
Q. Ronnie was responsible -‑
Q. -- for the payments; you were not?
A. Yes. Ronnie made the payments. And after -after his commitment to that note was paid, I got a call from the banker, which I considered very unusual, and he said Mrs. Williams, when you signed this note for Ronnie, I didn't know whether you knew what you were doing or not.
MR. PANOSH: We object, please.
THE COURT: Sustained.
THE WITNESS: But apparently you did.
MR. LLOYD: Your Honor, if I may, the normal rules of evidence do not apply to the sentencing hearing. Certainly she's not relating something that the banker is going to lie about.
THE COURT: Sustained.
Q. All right. Let me ask you this, Mrs. Williams: As a result of the phone conversation with the banker, did you learn that Ronnie had completed his obligation?
A. Never late and usually two or three days early. And he had completed it.
Q. Mrs. Williams, if you were asked what adjectives you would use to describe Ronnie Kimble, what would you tell the ladies and gentlemen of the jury?
A. Cheerful. Optimistic. Happy. And very -- very considerate, very gentle with children, animals, and just a very up person.
Q. Now, Mrs. Williams, did you have an opportunity to observe Ronnie in terms of how he was able to learn things?
A. What Ronnie did for me, he seemed to be mechanically and everything -- he seemed to be quite capable. I got this feeling that reading -- I'll tell you the truth. I got this feeling he was a lot like my granddaughter. Highly intelligent but with attention
deficit disorder is the feeling that I got.
Q. Did you -- did you feel like that he was not -that he was not up to par academically, that he had problems in that area?
A. Yes. To the extent that he seemed to be very intelligent. But as I say, my granddaughter makes in the high 90's on her tests, but just has these other difficulties. It's hard to describe.
MR. LLOYD: Yes, ma'am. Thank you, Mrs. Williams.
MR. PANOSH: Ma'am, wait a minute, please.
MR. LLOYD: Mrs. Williams, Mr. Panosh needs to ask you just a few questions.
THE WITNESS: Oh, I'm sorry.
CROSS-EXAMINATION by MR. PANOSH:
Q. You indicated that he worked for you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What years did he work for you?
A. It was up from the time he was about 14 until the time he entered the Marines, and I'm not exactly sure when that was.
Q. And you indicated that there was a loan, and he was 17 years of age; is that correct?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And when was that completed; paid off?
A. I really don't know whether it was two years later or three years later. It just sort of runs together with me since I retired.
Q. Did he ever deceive you?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did he ever come to you for personal advice?
A. On occasion.
Q. Did that personal advice include a time when he and a young lady -‑
MR. LLOYD: Well, objection, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Overruled.
Q. Did that personal advice include a time when he and Joy Dyer had a specific personal problem?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And did you advise him to speak with his parents about that?
A. Yes, sir. I just -- I just told him that -this was like in the middle of the night and I was surprised. And I just told him that I didn't consider that I was real good at advising him like that, but there were agencies and places that could give him some good advice.
Q. So did you advise him?
A. Did I advise him?
Q. Yes. About that problem?
A. No. Not really.
Q. Did you tell him not to go to his parents?
A. Oh, no, sir. Uh-uh. He had told me he couldn't go to his parents. You know how it is with kids.
Q. I understand what you said, ma'am. My question to you is did you tell him not to go to the parents?
A. I'm sure I didn't.
MR. PANOSH: No further questions.
THE COURT: Step down, ma'am. Next witness, please. You may step down.
(Witness stood aside)
Published August 15, 2006. Report broken links or other problems.
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