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Police want DNA sample in Scott killing

BRADENTON — A lab technician found two sets of DNA on the knife used to kill Joseph Scott in the Palmetto rooming house where he lived.

Prosecutors say one DNA profile on the weapon belongs to Scott.

The other remains a mystery.

But sometime within the next month, prosecutors expect to learn the other DNA match.

That’s because on Wednesday, Circuit Judge Debra Riva ordered a DNA swab be taken from murder defendant Deborah Kay Williams, 50. She is accused of fatally stabbing her ex-boyfriend, 71-year-old Scott, at his apartment in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue East on Jan. 5.

The evidence collection stems from Assistant State Attorney Rebecca Muller filing a motion last month that compelled Williams to submit a saliva sample after a lab discovered two sets of DNA on the knife.

In court Wednesday, Riva granted the motion and a crime scene tech swabbed Williams’ cheek.

The swab will be sent to a lab and tested to see if it matches Williams’ DNA. Results are expected within the next month, Muller said.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe Williams attacked Scott because he was involved with another woman.

On the evening of the slaying, Scott and a woman were in the his room when Williams “appeared and began banging on the door, and entered the room through force,” according to Muller’s March 18 motion.

Muller said that when Williams entered the room, the woman left.

A male tenant in the boarding house heard fighting and loud voices and went to check on the victim, according to the motion.

“When he approached the room he called out for the victim, who responded he needed help,” the motion continues.

The tenant then kicked in the door, Muller said.

“He (the tenant) observed the defendant with the knife in her hand and saw her stabbing the victim in the chest,” the motion continues.

“The witness struggled with the defendant and was able to get the knife and detain the defendant until law enforcement arrived.”

Manatee Emergency Medical Services transported Scott to Manatee Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Some of Scott’s neighbors said Williams had stalked Scott in the months prior to his death.

She reportedly lived a few blocks from Scott’s boarding house.

Williams is charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault. If she goes to trial and is convicted, she could receive a life prison sentence.

During Williams next hearing May 27, the judge will likely set a trial date.

Williams’ court-appointed attorney, Rosemary Harlem-Wood, said she could not comment on the case.

Williams’ last lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Peter Belmont, had requested Williams’ competency be examined to see if she is mentally fit for trial.

In a motion, Belmont wrote that conversations with his client reveal an “irrational thought process on her part” and that she engages in “irrelevant dialogue and fails to respond to questions related to her case”.

In March, Belmont withdrew from the case due to a conflict of interest. Court records show the public defender’s office is representing the eyewitness in Scott’s slaying in a separate drug case.

Harlem-Wood said she withdrew the request to have her client’s competency evaluated.

She did not say why Wednesday.