Williams pleads not guilty to killing girl, attacking pregnant girlfriend; charged with attempted escape

Demetrius Williams appears before a judge. (WBAY Photo)
Demetrius Williams appears before a judge. (WBAY Photo)(WBAY)
Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 10:25 AM CDT
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An Appleton man charged with killing his girlfriend's daughter has entered not guilty pleas to the charges against him. Hours later, he was charged with an attempted escape from the Outagamie County Jail.

Demetrius Williams, 26, appeared before an Outagamie County judge Friday for an arraignment hearing.

Williams is charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide of an Unborn Child, Attempted Escape, and Taking a Hostage Released Without Bodily Harm.

Williams is accused of stabbing three-year-old Zyana S. Corbin to death in February. The girl suffered multiple wounds to the neck, face and muscles, according to an autopsy.

On Feb. 26, police were called to an apartment on N. Kensington. Officers arrived to find Zyana and her mother, Tiana, covered in blood. The girl and her mother had "severe lacerations."

Zyana and Tiana were taken to an Appleton hospital. Zyana was pronounced dead due to her injuries.

Tiana was pregnant at the time of the attack. She survived and her unborn child survived.

Williams called 911 to report the attack. He told a dispatcher that he went on a stabbing rage, according to the probable cause statement.

Williams said he was "upset" at Tiana because she no longer wanted to be with him.

Officials say Williams was "calm, collected, and matter of fact" during the 911 call.

During a later interview, police asked Williams why he wanted to kill Tiana. He answered, "Freedom and happiness."

Williams stated he attacked Zyana because he knew "killing Zyana would bring Tiana great pain or hurt her a lot," according to the probable cause statement.

A hearing in the homicide case is scheduled for Aug. 26 at 9 a.m.


Williams was also formally charged with the escape attempt in the Outagamie County Jail that


Investigators say when Williams was supposed to go back to his cell, he hid in the dayroom behind a piece of cardboard which inmates use as privacy shields when using the toilet. When an officer came to check on the inmates, Williams surprised the officer and threatened her with one of the sharpened pencils he'd placed around the cell block.

Williams shares the cell block with another accused child killer, Matthew Beyer. Beyer is charged with murdering his children in Kaukauna. Beyer's also charged as a party to the attempted escape and hostage situation for providing Williams with the cardboard.

The officer's body camera shows Williams grab the officer's wrists and push her back. Williams grabbed her radio, body camera and a device she carries to monitor inmate checks.

The officer was held against her will for about seven minutes.

Beyer said Williams came up with taking a guard hostage and grabbing a weapon. Williams told Beyer "he had a guy on the outside with a car that will meet them by the stairs," according to the complaint.

The officer says Williams told her, "I want Beyer to come with me."

The officer told Williams that she needed to open Beyer's cell from the outside. She convinced him to let her step into the hallway to use the panel to unlock the cell. The officer distracted Williams by opening his cell door instead of Beyer's door. While he was distracted, she ran away and yelled to other officers for help.

An Outagamie County judge added $500,000 to Williams' cash bond amount for the new charges. Williams is due back in court June 19.

Beyer was formally charged on Wednesday, the same day he was

for the deaths of his 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.

Beyer's next court date is July 30. He's current jailed in lieu of a $2.5 million cash bond.

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