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Jury struggling to reach verdict in case of mother accused of killing toddler |

Jury struggling to reach verdict in case of mother accused of killing toddler

| Thursday, August 25, 2016 11:54 a.m

The jury weighing whether Adrienne Williams asphyxiated her 3-year-old daughter and dumped her body in Swissvale hasn’t decided a verdict after 2 12 days — and may not reach one.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani sent members of the jury home at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Jurors expressed concern Thursday morning that they were stalled, but Mariani sent them back, and they continued deliberations for the rest of the day.

“What actions need to be taken if deliberations are stalled due to arguments being based without factual support?” wrote the foreperson in a note signed at 10:55 a.m. Thursday. “We feel we may be at an impasse.”

Deliberations began Tuesday afternoon in the case of Williams, 27, of Wilkinsburg, who is charged with homicide, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Police said she killed her daughter, Adrionna, and left the body on a dirt pile off an abandoned section of road 2 miles from where the girl’s grandmother was supposed to be baby-sitting her.

A woman walking her dog discovered the body less than an hour and a half after Adrionna went missing; prosecutors say phone records and video surveillance showed Williams driving to and from where the body was found instead of heading to work as she told police she had. Colored paper clips similar to ones found in her car were found near the body.

Mariani called the jury back to his courtroom and gave them a standard five-paragraph instruction to keep weighing the case based on the facts they’d been given. He declined Assistant District Attorney Kevin Chernosky’s proposal to add language warning specifically against speculation, because the judge believed the standard instruction covered that.

Jurors will resume deliberating at 9 a.m. Friday.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412 391 0927 or

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