On Monday, May 26th, 2014 at 7:19 p.m. a Pinal County resident living in the 20000 block of East Cholla Road, outside the town limits of Florence, called 9-1-1 to report she was strangled by her live in boyfriend and she was having difficulty breathing.
Upon deputies arrival, the victim (age 18) reported she and her boyfriend, William Christopher Willson, age 24, from Florence were involved in a domestic dispute after he became upset during a conversation related to her pregnancy.
During the dispute, the victim attempted to call 9-1-1 but Willson “smashed” her telephone on the ground which prevented her from completing the call. She reported Willson then put both of his hands around her neck and then pushed her head into a wall. Willson then strangled her with his hands and she reported she saw bright lights and tried to scream for help but couldn’t. Eventually she was choked to the point of unconsciousness. She reported, just prior to losing consciousness, she was afraid Willson was going to kill her and her unborn child. The victim further explained she was in her first trimester (7 weeks) of pregnancy. After regaining consciousness, the victim fled the residence and drove a short distance to a family member’s home where she called 9-1-1.
The victim was taken to a local area hospital for medical treatment of her injuries. She had bruising and swelling around her neck along with defensive type wounds on her hands and arms.
A search of the residence was conducted and Willson was not located. A statewide “attempt to locate” was broadcast to law enforcement agencies for Willson’s arrest.
On Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 a family member of Willson’s called PCSO and asked if our agency was looking for him. After confirming Willson was wanted for aggravated assault, the family member located Willson and turned him over to our agency.
Willson was arrested and booked into the Pinal County Jail in Florence for Aggravated Assault, Disorderly Conduct, and Preventing the Use of a Telephone in an Emergency. All charges are classified under the Domestic Violence Statute. Willson confirmed the victims account of what occurred.
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “Most victims of domestic violence never call law enforcement for help and therefore never receive medical attention, counseling and support they desperately need. This victim had the courage and strength to report this crime. Deputies and detectives worked around the clock to locate and arrest William Willson for the domestic violence crimes he committed. Willson obviously knew what he did, endangering the life of his unborn child as he asked detectives after he was arrested if the child was still alive. At his initial court appearance, Pinal County Superior Court Commissioner Dwight Callahan set his bond at only $2,500 after the County Attorney’s Office had requested a $100,000 bond because of the severity of the offense and the possible damage done to the baby. Law enforcement and prosecutors will continue to do all we can to protect victims of crime but Commissioner Callahan continues to send a strong message regarding his lack of protection for victims of crimes.”