tampabay.com

Jurors hear of ex-girlfriend's obsessive acts

By COLLEEN JENKINS
Published September 14, 2006


TAMPA - Elizabeth Jewell Williams' words are seared in her friend's mind:

"I don't hurt people," he recalls her saying. "I pay people to hurt people."

Only a few weeks later, Williams' ex-lover was burned to death in a Riverview park. Prosecutors say Williams paid a man with drugs and money to carry out the killing.

The 40-year-old Pinecrest woman is on trial this week for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the murder of Charles "Chuck" Rock, her on-again, off-again lover.

Jurors will hear today from Joshua Singletary, who claims he doused Rock with gasoline and set him on fire Aug. 10, 2003, on Williams' orders.

The defense argues Singletary is testifying to avoid the death penalty.

On Wednesday, jurors heard damaging testimony from a man who considered himself a close friend of Williams'.

Michael E. Johnson, Rock's former brother-in-law, said he spoke to Williams every day, either on the phone or in person at her Beverage Castle on U.S. 301.

Even after the stormy couple split for good, Williams was stuck on Rock, her friend said.

"She was obsessed with him," Johnson said. "She just couldn't seem to move on after they were separated."

Johnson rattled off several examples of Williams' postbreakup behavior: She dated other men to make Rock jealous, stalked Rock and his new girlfriend, threw a drink in her ex-lover's face at a bar.

"One minute she talked about how much she loved him," Johnson said, "and the next minute she hated his guts."

Johnson said he heard Williams threaten to hurt Rock many times, and that she once asked Johnson to take away her gun before she used it on her former boyfriend.

Johnson said he thought Williams was bluffing.

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at 813 226-3337 or cjenkins@sptimes.com.