It didn't take long for a jury to convict Susan Williams of hiring a hit man to kill her estranged husband, Peter.
Williams, 44, has been found guilty of second-degree conspiracy and possession of a forged instrument in the second degree.
During closing arguments Monday, Assistant District Attorney Anne Donnelly reiterated that Williams was the mastermind behind the murder plot; not private investigator Joseph LaBella or the undercover detective Williams thought to be the hit man. Williams' attorney, John Carman of Garden City, argued that both men manipulated the Garden City mother of four into ordering the hit.
The prosecution's undercover surveillance tape was the smoking gun in the case. On it, Williams is seen laughing and handing over the $500 deposit on the $20,000 hit. She says she stays up at night thinking about what expression she'd have on her face when the cops showed up at her door to inform her of Peter's death. She says she wants it to appear to be an accident. The "hit man" – an undercover detective – offers Williams several chances to back out. She hands over the money and says, "I'll hear from you then?" referring to the call she'd get after the deed was done.
"The members of the jury were able to hear and see the real Susan Williams for themselves through the audio and video tape evidence," said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "The defendant cold-heartedly planned the murder of her children's father and just as cold-heartedly left the devastation of this family in her wake. Thanks to the investigative work performed by both the Nassau County Police Department and members of my office, a life was saved and this defendant will now be held accountable."
Williams did not take the stand.
Jurors deliberated for less than four hours and handed down the guilty verdict at approximately 6 p.m. Monday before an emotionless Williams, who faces up to 25 years in prison at her Dec. 17 sentencing.