MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBS 2/ WCBS 880/ 1010 WINS) — Greed, power and money — that’s what prosecutors said motivated a mom to offer a man $20,000 to kill the father of her four kids.
On Thursday, her estranged husband took the stand, as more scandalous details were revealed about her secret life.
CBS 2’s Tony Aiello has more on the murder-for-hire trial from Mineola.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
Her hair graying, her clothes on the drab side and after months in jail, Susan Williams arrived at court looking far different from the cashmere-clad, well-coiffed woman who was arrested back in March.
Then there was the surveillance snap of Williams, whom the district attorney said was caught trying to hire a hit man to kill her husband, Peter.
On Thursday Peter Williams testified his “perfect marriage” crumbled when he learned Susan had slept with her boss and — years earlier — with Peter’s brother.
Peter Williams testified he wanted to sell the Garden City house, split everything 50-50 and divorce amicably.
But he said Susan refused, telling him, “Wait and see what I do to you.”
Peter told the jury “I would say she had a plan in mind to take everything.”
Prosecutor Anne Donnelly told jurors Susan Williams wanted to destroy her husband.
“This is a case about greed, power, money. The defendant is out for herself and no one better get in her way. And when her husband got in her way she hired someone to kill him,” Donnelly said.
That someone was an undercover cop, who was introduced to Susan Williams by Joseph LaBella, a private investigator she’d hired hoping to catch Peter cheating.
Defense attorney John Carman said LaBella came to have “absolute power over Susan Williams at a time when she was dealing with cancer and the collapse of her marriage.”
The defense strategy seems to be to portray Susan Williams as a pawn — not a mastermind.
The prosecution said that private eye is a hero for reporting the plot, not a villain. He’s expected to testify at some point.