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Donald Williams guilty of 1st degree murder in killing of ex-girlfriend, Maria Serrano

Philadelphia man facing possible death sentence for Reading woman's murder

Williams guilty of murder in killing of ex-girlfriend

READING, Pa. - A man was found guilty of first degree murder and related charges Wednesday for the brutal killing of his former girlfriend in Reading more than four years ago.

Donald Williams showed no emotion as jurors announced their verdict in a courtroom crowded with about 30 relatives of the victim, Maria Serrano, and more than a dozen guards.

Serrano's two children cried when they heard the verdict.

Williams, who was also found guilty of rape, aggravated assault, arson and indecent assault, now faces a possible death sentence, which will be decided by the same panel of jurors. The penalty phase of the trial began soon after their verdict was announced.

Williams, prosecutors said, broke into Serrano's home on Lincoln Street in Reading on June 25, 2009, dragged her out of the shower, stabbed her with a screwdriver and then raped her.

The prosecution's opening statements also revealed Serrano was then dragged down into her basement, where she was doused with gasoline and set on fire.

During the trial, jurors twice heard a recording of the call Serrano made to 911 as prosecutors said she suffered agonizing pain.

"I feel sick. I feel horrible. I'm burning all over the place. Hurry up, I'm bleeding and there's a fire. You have to call the fire department," Serrano was heard saying. She died in a hospital six weeks later.

Williams, formerly of Philadelphia, testified in his own defense Monday, presenting his own version of events that unfolded that day while admitting he felt responsible for Serrano's death.

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