- Associated Press - Monday, May 25, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - A settlement has been reached in a mother’s lawsuit against the federal government over the death of her 5-year-old daughter at the hands of a former Hawaii-based soldier.

Tarshia Williams filed the lawsuit against the government over the 2005 death of her daughter, Talia. The lawsuit claims the military didn’t report to the proper authorities that Talia’s father and stepmother “abused and tortured” her throughout the seven months she lived in Hawaii.

In what was the first death penalty case to go to trial in the history of Hawaii’s statehood, Naeem Williams was convicted of murder last year in his daughter’s death and sentenced to life in prison without possibility for parole. Talia’s stepmother, Delilah Williams, testified against her husband as part of a deal with prosecutors for a 20-year sentence. She provided disturbing details of abuse that included withholding food for days at a time and beating the child while she was duct-taped to a bed.

Talia died July 16, 2005, after prosecutors say her father dealt a blow so hard it left knuckle imprints on her chest.

A non-jury trial was scheduled for June in Tarshia Williams’ lawsuit. According to court records online, a settlement was reached last week. Details are expected to be announced in court Tuesday. One of her Honolulu attorneys, Mark Davis, declined to provide details Friday.

She testified at Naeem Williams’ trial, saying the last time she saw Talia was when the child left South Carolina to live with her father in Hawaii. She said the last time she spoke to Talia was by telephone on July 2, 2005. Talia died two weeks later.

After Naeem Williams was convicted, she told The Associated Press she believes the government could have done more to help her daughter, since military police had shown up at the house for various domestic incidents. Her lawsuit was put on hold pending the criminal trial. The government has denied that officials failed to protect Talia from the abuse that caused her death.

Tarshia Williams and Talia’s father weren’t married but share the same last name because they are distant relatives.

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Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at https://www.twitter.com/JenHapa.


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