Fairfax Naked Guy -- Not Guilty
A Fairfax County Circuit Court jury took less than 20 minutes Wednesday to find Erick Williamson, "The Naked Guy," not guilty of indecent exposure, for standing nude inside his Springfield house last fall.
"It's a weight off my shoulders," Williamson said of the verdict, which was an appeal of his misdemeanor conviction by a judge in Fairfax General District Court. "I think it sets the record straight. It was an innocent action."
The appeal trial for The Naked Guy, Erick Williamson, got underway in Fairfax County Circuit Court on Wednesday, after Williamson appealed his conviction for indecent exposure while inside his Springfield house last fall.
Though Fairfax prosecutors limited their case strictly to the two women who say they saw Williamson, 29, standing naked at the door to his carport on Oct. 19, one new detail did emerge today: Yvette Dean, who testified she was walking her 7-year-old son to school that fateful morning, said that when she spotted Williamson posing in the doorway, "I flipped him off."
Dean said Williamson was holding his storm door open with one hand, and making eye contact with her. She said she moved to cover her son's eyes with her overcoat, then turned the corner and walked past the house.
And there was Williamson again, now standing in the front window, Dean said. She did not make a second obscene gesture at him.
The concept of obscenity is at the heart of the case, which went to the seven-person jury shortly before 3 p.m. Did Williamson intentionally display himself, both to Dean and to another woman who drove past the house and saw Williamson at 6:40 a.m. that same morning? Or was he simply moving about the house, admittedly unclothed, packing, eating breakfast and getting ready to move, as he testified.
Williamson said he never stood in the carport doorway, and that he never intended to expose himself to anyone. He said if he had realized anyone was out there, he would have covered up and apologized to the passers-by.
The other major detail to emerge today was that Williamson's lawyers hired a private investigator to measure the distance from where Dean was standing to the carport door. Investigator John Hickey said it was 83 feet. A photo taken by the police, of the view from the path that Dean was on looking toward the house on Arley Drive, made it seem like quite a distance, and Dean said the photo was "closer than I was."
Defense lawyer Dickson Young presented another photo taken from the path, and the carport door seemed very distant. Young ridiculed the notion that Dean made eye contact with the naked man.
If a woman is "walking along and sees someone naked," Young told the jury in his closing argument, "the last thing they're going to be looking at is his eyes."
Fairfax Assistant Commonwealthl's Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum told the jury that two episodes of exposure in one morning, about two hours apart, was not inadvertent. "This isn't a case about being naked in your own home," Birnbaum said. "This is a case of intentional exposure, and that is a violation of law."
The jury began its deliberations at 2:55 p.m.
Though they were available to be called as witnesses, the police officers who responded to the two exposure reports, and who entered Williamson's rented house without a warrant, did not testify and those issues were not raised.
After Williamson had a misdemeanor trial in general district court in December, he appealed his guilty verdict to circuit court. There were then three pre-trial hearings on motions filed by the defense. Young said Williamson's legal bills would probably wind up being between $10,000 and $15,000.
-- Tom Jackman
April 7, 2010; 4:28 PM ET
Categories: Fairfax , From the Courthouse , Tom Jackman , Updates
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