STILLWATER, Okla. -- Opening arguments are set for Thursday in the felony sexual assault trial of suspended Oklahoma State basketball player Darrell Williams after a jury was seated after three days of questioning.
A panel of eight men and four women, with one male alternate, were chosen Wednesday in Payne County District Court in Stillwater. With only 45 minutes remaining before the session was scheduled to adjourn for the day, District Judge Phillip Corley opted to wait until Thursday morning to begin opening arguments.
Prosecutors have charged Williams with four counts of rape by instrumentation and one count of sexual battery for allegedly groping two women and reaching into their pants without their consent during an off-campus party in December 2010.
Williams has pleaded not guilty to the charges, all felonies. He has been suspended indefinitely from the team, sitting out all of last season while the case moved toward trial.
Four of Williams' teammates came to the courtroom to watch jury selection Wednesday -- Le'Bryan Nash, Philip Jurick, Cezar Guerrero and Christien Sager. Nash greeted Williams and the two chatted briefly during an afternoon break, and Williams spoke with all of them after the jury had been chosen and Corley excused everyone from the courtroom.
Williams, 22, was a starting power forward for part of one season and averaged 7.1 points and 7.3 rebounds after transferring to Oklahoma State. He attended high school in Chicago and then went to junior college in Florida and Texas for one year each. Several of his teammates and head coach Travis Ford are included as possible witnesses who could testify during the trial.
During jury selection, Assistant District Attorney Jill Tontz asked potential jurors if they would be able to convict someone if there were no physical evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints, and no injuries were suffered during an alleged assault.
Williams' defense attorneys, Cheryl Ramsey and Willie Baker, raised the possibility that Williams could have been misidentified and someone else actually committed the crimes he has been charged with.
Corley has said he expects the trial to take at least two weeks.