Gloria Williams' lawyers look to head off trial in stolen baby case

Area attorney cites defense team's focus on client's mental health

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The legal team for a woman accused of stealing a baby from a Jacksonville hospital 18 years ago is doing everything it can to prevent a trial from happening, according to an area legal expert.

Gloria Williams went before a judge again Thursday, where more delays to her trial were discussed.

Williams, 51, is accused of kidnapping Kamiyah Mobley from what was then known as University Medical Center. She was arrested in January, 2017 ending a mystery that spanned nearly two decades. Williams allegedly raised Kamiyah as her own daughter, naming her Alexis Manigo.

Investigators used DNA to confirm that Manigo was, in fact, baby Kamiyah, taken from the hospital eight hours after she was born.

Jury selection for Williams’ trial is set for Feb. 12, but Nichols said it’s likely Williams’ legal team is doing everything possible to prevent a trial from ever happening. 

Williams walked into the courtroom Thursday morning, then waited while the judge talked privately to her attorney and the prosecutor. Word then came that the hearing would be delayed another two weeks, pushing it even closer to her trial next month. 

Williams’ attorney announced she will file something new in the case soon. 

Attorney Gene Nichols, who isn’t affiliated with the case, says the timing of this delay points to one thing.

“I’m sure more than anything, what we are focusing on is the mental health and mental capability – the mental status of her client, especially at the time that this happened,” Nichols said. 

Nichols said he also believes Williams’ legal team could be fighting to the fine print -- possibly arguing that Williams’ should be punished based on sentencing guidelines from when the crime happened in 1998 versus when she was arrested in 2017 -- possibly receiving a lighter sentence. 
Nichols said there’s also another thing complicating Williams’ case.

“We don’t have a victim, in this case, who wants to see the defendant go to jail for a long period of time,” Nichols said. 

That was made clear Last month when Alexis Manigo, born Kamiyah Mobley, sat down for a lengthy interview with a Charleston, South Carolina, newspaper. Mobley said Williams explained to her what happened after the teenager asked for her Social Security number to start a job in Walterboro.

At the end of the interview, she said what punishment she was hoping Williams would face, saying,“I know what she did was wrong, but I’m just hoping for a single digit. Not two digits. And credit for time served, of course.”

It remains to be seen how any potential plea negotiations will turn out, but Williams does face a maximum of life in prison.