It was nearly eight years ago that Julianne Williams and Laura Winans were tortured and killed in Shenandoah National Park. For years, the focus was on Darrel David Rice, of Maryland. He was indicted on four counts of capital murder. Now, he's expected to walk free.
As Julianne Williams' mother looks through old photos, she remarks, "Some these were taken on - they were from Julie's camera at the park, during their backpacking trip."
Patsy Williams remembers her daughter that she lost nearly 8 years ago. As she goes through those memories, she notes, "I think that you can tell by the pictures of her and everything that she was a pretty enthusiastic person. Really someone who was into fairness and justice."
Though difficult to digest, Julianne's parents believe in that fairness and justice too - even if it means the man they believed killed their daughter will go free. There's word now that Darrel Rice will go free. FBI analysis concluded that two hairs found on different parts of the crime scene probably came from someone other than the victims or Rice. And a government expert also concluded that DNA from stains on straps used to tie the women came from an unidentified man. Julianne's parents say they're "extremely disappointed" that prosecutors are dropping charges, but they support the U.S. attorney.
"It's very devastating, actually, because it's been so many years. We're looking forward to putting this piece behind us," says Patsy Williams.
She hopes more time will provide additional evidence that will prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. U.S. Attorney John Brownlee sough the dismissal "without prejudice," which means the door is left open that Rice could be charged anew if more evidence surfaces.