Judge says evidence in high-profile kidnapping case can be released

Gloria Williams accused of kidnapping Kamiyah Mobley as newborn in 1998

By Chris Parenteau - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Much of the evidence being used in the trial of a woman accused of kidnapping an hours-old Jacksonville infant in 1998 can be made public before the trial, a judge ruled Friday.

Gloria Williams’ attorney fought to keep some of the materials sealed, saying they could taint a prospective jury. 

Judge Marianne Aho said that while the materials might cast Williams in a negative light, that isn't enough to withhold them until trial, because they are public record. 

But a couple of statements that Aho said could potentially be considered a confession will not be released before trial.

Among the documents that will be released are reports from the incident and investigation and photographs, as long as they don't contain medical bills, medical records or school records of Kamiyah Mobley, who was raised as Alexis Manigo.

“That was quite a bit of evidence hear that the judge looked through. It would have been very surprising if she sealed all of it, so the majority of it will be released. It’s public record,” said Attorney Ed Birk, who represented News4Jax in court. “There are some materials that she said would be so damaging to the defendant that if potential jurors saw it, they wouldn’t be able to put it aside.”

One of those elements was a video taken Jan. 10, 2017, and audio from Jan. 13, 2017, that the judge said “contain materials which reveal the substance of a confession.” 

Those will have to be redacted before they can be released, Aho ruled.

A video from Jan. 11, 2017, will be released in its entirety. 

The ruling didn't say who that video is with, but says “although some of the video may cast the defendant in an unfavorable light, it is not so shocking, hostile, or inflammatory” that it would not allow for a fair trial.

Williams' final pretrial hearing has been moved to Thursday morning.

Jury selection for her trial is scheduled to start Feb. 12. 

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