Police: Texts show ongoing, heated relationship on day three of murder trial

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Lycoming County Deputy Ryan Kepner escorts Rashawn D. Williams from the Lycoming County Courthouse after the third day of his murder trial Wednesday.

Text messages two days before the death of Scott Cole portrayed a stormy relationship between him and his accused killer Rashawn D. Williams, who police say downplayed the relationship during an interview the morning after Cole’s death.

Williams’ jury trial continued into its third day Wednesday as the prosecution played a video of Williams’ interview with city police agents Jason Bolt and Aaron Levan. Williams told the agents that Cole’s injuries were from a fight between Cole and a friend known as “Scooter” and that he had been in the middle of it because he was facilitating a drug deal between the two.

“Scooter and Scotty (Cole) were fighting over Zanies (Xanax),” Williams said. “I don’t know how Scotty got bloody like that — I was really trying to help him up.”

Williams told Levan and Bolt that after finding Cole on the ground, he went back in his home, locking the door behind him.

“I brushed my teeth … checked on the kids … came back downstairs and grabbed my phone,” Williams said.

Bolt and Levan told Williams during the interview that his story wasn’t adding up compared to the information they had collected over the night. Bolt told Williams that telling the truth would make the interview much easier.

“The reason it’s hard for you to think about this is because Scooter wasn’t there,” Bolt said. “Scooter’s not there and if Scooter wasn’t there. Who was?”

Levan, called to the stand by First Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade, told the jury that during the investigation, Williams’ phone was put through software that gave police a transcript of the texts he had sent and received from Cole.

During Williams’ interview, he told police while he spoke with Cole on occasions, they had only hung out together once. Williams’ phone however, showed that he and Cole had texted and called one another a total of 363 times from May 22 to June 22 of 2017. The last text messages between the two showed that two days before Cole’s death, emotions had boiled over after a string of unanswered calls sent by Cole.

“You can see (how) petty I can get,” Cole said in a text to Williams. “I won’t take your (expletive) no more.”

Cole and Williams stopped sending text messages the next two days but Levan told the jury that on the day before Cole’s death, the two men had called one another more than 20 times.

Samuel Land, the forensic pathologist who autopsied Cole, was called to the stand by Wade and told the jury that Cole’s wounds had been extensive. Land took the jury through multiple pictures of the body. Photos showed stab wounds on the back of his neck, along the middle and upper right of his back, about 10 on his face and head alone, as well as cuts that pierced his internal organs.

The knife had pierced Cole’s chest in multiple locations and another wound had passed through his heart.

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