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Ohio Man Convicted of Rape, Murder

August 18, 1999 GMT

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ A man who told police he had consensual sex with an 88-year-old woman but had nothing to do with her death was convicted Wednesday of killing and raping her.

Robert Williams Jr., 35, told police that Velma McDowell invited him into her apartment Feb. 18 and they had sex. He said he panicked afterward and placed a pair of pantyhose around her neck, pulling once but not killing her.

A jury convicted Williams of murder, rape, burglary and robbery. Jurors will begin deciding Thursday whether he should be sentenced to die or given life in prison. Prosecutors will push for the death penalty.

Defense attorney Merle Dech said he wouldn’t comment until the sentence is determined.

Williams was staying with his mother at the apartment complex where Mrs. McDowell lived. Neighbors said Mrs. McDowell often left her door open and they saw Williams near her apartment around the time of the slaying.

He shoved a rag down her throat, raped her and strangled her with the pantyhose, police said. He admitted taking about $300 from her purse to pay for a car and crack cocaine.