Allegan County Child Killer Could Walk Free

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ALLEGAN, Mich. (March 31, 2014) — A child killer and sexual predator that admitted his crimes is asking to be released.

Theodore Williams’ crimes date back to the 1960s, and at that time he admitted he would have killed more people.

He is being held in custody based on the Criminal Sexual Psychopath Act, an act that’s supposed to keep him locked up in a psychiatric hospital for life. The Criminal Sexual Psychopath Act was repealed shortly after Williams’ sentence.

However, the law allows him to request a trial every year to prove he’s “cured,” which gives him a chance to be set free.

Retired Michigan State Police detective Robert Golm sat face-to-face with Williams in 1967 as he casually described the brutal rape and murder of two young girls from West Michigan. “At that time he said, ‘I`m glad you got me when you did because if you hadn’t there would have been a whole lot more dead girls out there,’” Golm said.

Child Killer Pushes for FreedomThe body of Sonya Santa Cruz, 7, was found first. That’s when, Golm says, Williams admitted to killing Laura Jo Sutliffe, 13. She had been missing for more than a year before Williams led detectives to her body.

A classmate, Sara Rouse, remembers the cases terrorized the entire community. “Whenever I would go someplace I think, ‘Well, is he going to get me too?’” Rouse said. She was questioned by police and the FBI when Sutliffe disappeared in 1966.

Rouse says she’s horrified every time Williams asks for a trial to be freed. He has already been denied several times.

Detective Golm is skeptical. “He says, ‘I’m cured now.’ Well, yeah, he was cured because he hadn`t been accosting any girls and killing any, because he was in custody.”

A petition was started to raise awareness and rally support to keep Williams in confinement.

Williams will be back in an Allegan County courtroom Wednesday, asking for a trial to determine if he should be set free.

Golm says if Williams is released he’s sure he would kill again.


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  • Jeremy

    Why would you (Fox 17) even put this story out there like he has a good probability of walking free. You are potentially setting off fear in many people and for what – your story, more clicks, more reads? The headline is ridiculous because the chance that this "child killer could walk free" is so, so minimal and it will not happen in all reality. But, then again, the media today rarely lives in reality like the average Joe. This headline and story sincerely disappoints me, but who cares, right?

  • Sara Rouse

    The fear is already there. The families of the girls need justice. Everything to keep him locked up must be done. He is capable of doing it again. Regardless, everything needs to be done to be able to make him pay a price that doesn't even come close to what he did to those girls. I know this because I knew one of them. He even abused and attempted murder on his own family members. He admits that he did these things and cannot guarantee it wouldn't happen again. You have no clue of the fear and pain he has caused SO many people who deserve protection and justice. Without incredible news people the victims would not have the awesome support from people who care.