Hernando Williams

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Hernando Williams (3 September 1955 – 22 March 1995) was an American convicted murderer from Chicago, Illinois. Williams was charged and convicted with the April 1978 kidnapping, rape and murder of 29–year old Chicago woman Linda Goldstone.[1] In addition to the murder charge, Williams was also charged with aggravated kidnapping, robbery and rape. Williams was executed by the State of Illinois, becoming the second person to be by the state on March 22, 1995 at age 39. He became the 2nd out of the 12 last people to be executed in the state of Illinois before the abolition of the death penalty[2]


On March 29, 1978, Williams, a young man, kidnapped Linda Goldstone from the Northwestern Medical Center parking lot in Chicago, Illinois. Goldstone, the wife of a physician and mother of a young boy, was on her way to teach a Lamaze class when Williams approached her, gun in hand. He told her it was a robbery. She gave him her money, but Williams made her partially disrobe and get into the front seat of his car. Williams held Goldstone captive for more than two days.

At the time of his kidnapping of Goldstone, Williams was out on bail for kidnapping and rape of another woman. He drove around with her in the trunk of his car for several days, even attending a court hearing in Maywood, Illinois with her in his trunk. At the hearing, the assistant state's attorney told the judge he was not ready for trial and Williams left the courtroom a relatively free man. When he returned to the court parking lot, he saw some people who appeared to be talking to the trunk of his car. He told those people to get away and left the scene with Goldstone still in the trunk. One of those who had talked to Goldstone while she was in the trunk at the Courthouse, reported the license plate number to the police. Police did not act on the tip.

Williams spent two nights in different motels with Goldstone and later admitted that he sexually assaulted her. At around 5:00 a.m. on April 1, 1978, Williams let Goldstone go, giving her $1.25 for bus fare and telling her to get on a bus and go home. Instead, she approached a home, knocked on the door, and asked for help. The door was opened by a Chicago firefighter. Goldstone told him that she needed help. The firefighter told her that he would call the police. Then he closed the door, leaving her outside. Meanwhile, Williams had gotten nervous, doubting whether Goldstone would keep her promise and get on a bus. He circled back around the block and saw her speaking to a man inside a house. After the firefighter had closed the door, Williams got out of his car and called to Goldstone. He led her around to a back alley where he shot her twice and left her in garage behind 10400 S. Maryland Avenue.[3] Some hours later, Chicago Police found Williams at his parents' home, washing out the trunk of his car.

Trial and Execution

A psychiatrist who examined Williams before trial reported that Williams suffered from "borderline personality disorder with episodic deterioration in reality testing and thought processes with episodic psychotic thinking". At the urging of his attorneys, Williams pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping, robbery, rape, and murder. The hope of the entire team was that Hernando would escape the death penalty. The strategy did not work. In January 1980, the jury sentenced Hernando Williams to death. He was executed by lethal injection on March 22, 1995 at the age of 39.


Williams worked as an assistant manager for a canvas goods supplier, the John Herman Company which was owned by his father; Reverend Davis Williams Sr. Williams attended Wendell Phillips High School, but later dropped out in 1972. Williams was briefly married to Chicago alderman Shirley Coleman from 1973 until 1977, together they have one daughter Shirlynda (b. 1976).[4]

See also