News

Second witness links Williams to Walgreens

Bar manager saw him climb down from roof

The manager of the bar in the University Avenue restaurant Pasta? identified Donald Ray Williams as the man she saw climb down from the roof of the Walgreens building a week or so before an arson fire destroyed the downtown Palo Alto building on July 1, 2007.

In testimony in federal court in San Jose on Tuesday, Caylin Campilongo said she saw Williams climb down from the roof of the Walgreens late one night shortly before the fire.

She also pointed out Williams in the courtroom, sitting between his defense attorneys.

Campilongo said the man she saw "looks like the defendant."

"He looks like the person you saw, but you're not 100 percent certain?" defense attorney Manuel Araujo asked Campilongo during cross-examination.

"Correct," she replied.

She also had testified that she saw the same man walking on the roofs of nearby buildings in the same period she saw the man climb down from the roof of the Walgreens. The Pasta? restaurant is several stores down University Avenue from the former Walgreens, with a rear exit for employees leading to the alley.

That's where Campilongo said she saw Williams.

Williams has been charged with setting the fire that destroyed the Walgreens building.

In earlier testimony last week, Victor Spence, a homeless man who lives in the alley behind Walgreens and adjacent stores, said he saw Williams climb up a pipe to the roof of the building "eight or 10 times."

Spence said he called Williams "Spider-Man" because of his climbing abilities.

Spence also testified that he once saw Williams leave the Walgreens building from a ground-floor exit on the alley, which is locked from the outside but not from the inside.

Earlier testimony established that a stairway from the alley door led to the second floor of the building and an enclosed walkway, which had a door to a patio area on part of the roof that is lower.

Someone climbing to the roof of the Walgreens building presumably could have used the door in the enclosed walkway to gain access into the building.

The fire apparently started in a suite of second-floor offices above the Walgreens store and an adjacent Subway sandwich shop.

Testimony in the trial of Williams continues Wednesday morning.

Related stories:

• Dramatic testimony opens Walgreens-fire trial

• Walgreens fire suspect called 'Spider-Man'

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by if
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm

if this guys convicted and BART cop isnt,there will be no more world


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wm Hanley
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 21, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Shouldn't the manager be helping customers instead of staring at roofs? There are no customers hanging on sides of buildings unless it's Spiderman - or Doc Oc or Superman or
moll men MAYBE.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Both comments are sad...we need to be positive to make this world a better place! Thank you to the people in the world that are trying to do that! and specifically to the brave people who testified!


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