Trial nearing

As the three-year anniversary of a double homicide near Commerce approaches, the accused killer’s murder trial has been scheduled for September.

As the three-year anniversary of a double homicide near Commerce approaches, the accused killer’s murder trial has been scheduled for September.

Tyrone Jamaal Williams of San Marcos has pleaded not guilty to two counts of capital murder, indicted for the June 17, 2016 deaths of Nichole Elizabeth Gonzales, 27, and her mother, Vicki Ann Gonzales, 51.

Williams faces a potential death sentence if convicted. In a related case, Mabel Jean Gonzales of Austin pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence related to the murder investigation and is now awaiting sentencing.

Williams remains in the Hunt County Detention Center on a $1.18 million bond; he is being represented by an attorney with the West Texas Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases program. A review hearing and a deadline for plea agreements is scheduled for June 24 in the 196th District Court.

Most of the proceedings surrounding the case have been sealed. But records revealed this week that jury selection is scheduled to begin July 15, with the start of testimony set for Sept. 9.

Williams previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of capital murder in connection with the fatal stabbings of the two women at a residence just outside of Commerce.

The indictment alleges that Williams killed the two women by stabbing or cutting them with a knife or sharp object.

A 911 call came in at 1:20 p.m. on June 17, 2016, from Vicki Gonzales, who was screaming for help and calling out Williams’ name, police reports showed. The call came from a home in the 7300 block of State Highway 50.

The Commerce Police Department was first on the scene and found the women had been slain. Williams’ vehicle was found about three miles away from the home, authorities said.

A search began for Williams with the assistance of the Commerce Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice K-9 search team.

At approximately 11 p.m., Commerce police received a call of a suspicious person in the 2700 block of State Highway 24/50, at the intersection of Live Oak Street.

When officers arrived and found Williams, he allegedly identified himself as someone else, but police found Williams’ identification in his possession. He was then arrested without incident, police said.

In the related tampering case, Gonzales pleaded guilty in April 2018 to attempting to tamper with or fabricate evidence, which carries a maximum punishment of two to 10 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

Gonzales – Williams’ girlfriend, police said – visited him in jail shortly after his arrest and then drove to the area of the murders and removed items from the site, authorities said in court documents. She has has yet to be formally sentenced.