Charges in the Darrent Williams murder: How strong is the case?

Willie Clark.

Word that Willie Clark, a longtime suspect in the slaying of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, had been charged with the crime, triggered sighs of relief throughout the community. But should we feel confident that justice will finally, belatedly be done? The evidence as laid out in media reports may be enough to result in a conviction, but it certainly doesn't seem like a lock.

The key detail that emerged from the news conference announcing charges against Clark? Authorities revealed that a witness inside the SUV from which shots were fired at the vehicle containing Williams says Clark squeezed at least one trigger. However, this individual didn't finger any additional shooters -- and District Attorney Mitch Morrissey appears certain two gunmen were involved, stating the contention as fact at the press announcement. Yes, DA spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough subsequently massaged his comment. But the investigation remains open, suggesting plenty of loose ends are still dangling. And that's surprising given how long Morrissey and company waited to lower the boom on Clark, a longtime suspect who was already in custody on a federal drug beef.

Perhaps such concerns are unwarranted and Clark will be punished appropriately for his part in this terrible event. Then again, caution seems more than justified. After all, Williams' killing remains an open wound on the community, and only the conviction of those responsible will start turning that wound into a scar. -- Michael Roberts

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts