MIAMI COUNTY — William C. Smith II, 42, of Trotwood, was arraigned in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday morning on an indictment charging him with first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, reduced from an earlier charge of murder in the death of Willard Higgins Jr. on Dec. 8.
Smith entered a not guilty plea and bond was set for $500,000. A pre-trial date was set for Jan. 2, with Judge Christopher Gee presiding.
According to initial reports, Higgins, 40, of Troy, died at Kettering Hospital in Kettering following a physical altercation with Smith in the 600 block of Walnut Street. A formal autopsy report had not been complete as of press time, according to Troy Police Department officials.
According to police records, following the altercation, Higgins allegedly had difficulty breathing and requested his blood pressure medication. Higgins’ girlfriend then called 911 and he was transported to Upper Valley Medical Center. Higgins apparently suffered a heart attack and was placed on a breathing machine. Reports also state Higgins had a brain bleed and was later transported by CareFlight to Kettering Hospital, where he died.
According to witnesses, Smith allegedly made a comment about Higgins’ girlfriend which sparked the altercation.
In other news:
Judge Gee will make a written decision on Charles Hiser’s bond following a mistrial and a hung jury in the case of the alleged rape of a minor victim.
The case will be tried for a third time, according to court officials. A pre-trial conference hearing was held in chambers Wednesday morning.
For the first count of the indictment, Hiser is facing up to 15 years to life or life without parole in prison and up to a $20,000 fine if convicted. For the remaining counts of the indictment, Hiser is facing up to 10 years to life in prison if convicted.
Hiser is currently being held at the Miami County Jail on $50,000 bond. Public defense attorneys requested a bond reduction or own recognizance bond last Friday when a hung jury was unable to reach a verdict. Gee denied the motion and will file a decision at a later date. Hiser has been incarcerated since Feb. 8.
On Dec. 15, a jury was deadlocked on a verdict after hours of deliberation in the retrial.
Hiser, 37, was indicted by a grand jury for one count of first-degree rape involving a victim 10 years old or younger, and seven counts of first-degree rape involving a victim less than 13 years old. The alleged assault occurred over the span of six years. The victim was known to Hiser.
Hiser was convicted in 2007 of misdemeanor sexual imposition after an offense in December 2007 in Piqua. In 2013, Hiser was found guilty for failure to provide notice of residence change as required by his Tier I sex offender classification.
Last October, another trial ended in a mistrial because of one or more jurors were exposed to “out-of-court” coverage of the case and the jury was no longer fair and impartial.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews
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