Defense attorneys for a truck driver convicted in the nation's deadliest human smuggling attempt are focused on one thing: sparing him a death sentence.
The federal jury convicted Tyrone Williams of all 58 counts of conspiracy, harboring and transporting he faced. Williams ferried dozens illegal immigrants during a May 2003 smuggling attempt from South Texas to Houston.
His airtight tractor-trailer was packed with more than 70 immigrants who punched out taillights and screamed for help when the heat inside became deadly. Nineteen of the immigrants died from dehydration, overheating and suffocation.
The trial's punishment phase is set to begin tomorrow and last about a week.
Jurors will decide whether Williams should be sentenced to death or up to life in prison.
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