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Long IslandNassau

Prosecution rests in Garden City hit-for-hire trial

The prosecution rested its case Wednesday in the trial of a Garden City mother accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband.

Wednesday, a lawyer for Susan Williams cross-examined the supposed hit man - actually an undercover detective - about the role he played in nabbing Williams in March.

The lawyer, John Carman, had suggested in his opening argument that the undercover officer, Det. Nicholas Occhino, led Williams down a path to consider murder that she never would have gone down on her own.

But on the stand, the detective steadfastly denied that accusation.

"It was obvious to me what she wanted done to her husband no matter what," Occhino said. Williams and her husband, Peter Williams, 46, are in the midst of an ugly divorce battle.

In court Tuesday, prosecutors played the videotapes police made of Susan Williams in February and March, in which she discussed the hit with Occhino. One of the tapes, recorded March 3, showed her paying him a $500 deposit on what he had priced as a $20,000 job.

Williams, 44, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree and fourth-degree criminal solicitation, second-degree conspiracy and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. If convicted, she could face a maximum of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.

In his cross-examination, Carman asked Occhino if he lowered the price of the hit after realizing that Susan Williams' finances were in shambles. On the police surveillance video, Occhino first asks for a $500 deposit to hurt Peter Williams, and he does not raise the price of the deposit after Susan Williams says she has changed her mind and now wants her estranged husband killed.

"She was now going to get 'Option B' for the same terms she was going to get 'Option A,' " Carman asked, referring to Option A, which was to hurt Peter Williams, and Option B, which was to kill him.

Occhino agreed.

Courts are closed Thursday in observance of Veterans Day.

Carman has not said whether he will call any witnesses when the trial resumes Friday. If he does not, the trial could move on to closing arguments that day.

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