Sex Crime Victim Testifies in Williams Case - NBC 7 San Diego

Sex Crime Victim Testifies in Williams Case

Dane Williams was last seen leaving Gaslamp bar in January 2008 while in town for the 2008 Action Sports Retailers convention.



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    A sexual assault victim said he “had a feeling something had happened” after waking up “without his underwear” and “disoriented for five days.”

    The man identified as Jeremiah R. (a judge has ordered the media not to use his real name) is testifying in the preliminary hearing of Philong Huynh, who is accused of sexually assaulting the witness and murdering Dane Williams.

    Williams, an Orange County resident who disappeared while in San Diego for the Action Sports Retailer Convention last year, was drugged and sexually assaulted before his body was dumped in an alley in City Heights, investigators said.

    William's family was in court on Thursday, but they declined to speak to the media.

    21-year-old Jeremiah R., who is in the Navy and set to be deployed to Iraq, came forward with information that led investigators to Huynh in the Williams case.

    He said he met Huynh, 39, downtown on June 6, eventually heading to Ocean and Mission Beaches, and even Mexico. After complaining of a headache, he said Huynh gave him what he thought was Tylenol. He later blacked out.

    The next day he says he woke up on a bus and subsequent tests showed he was sexually assaulted.

    The testimony was delivered on Thursday because of the sailor's deployment. The full preliminary hearing will not take place until Feb. 23, officials said.

    Williams' body was found in a rug in the north alley of 5200 Landis Street in City Heights on Jan. 29, 2008. The 23-year-old was last seen in the early morning hours of Jan. 26 leaving a bar in the Gaslamp.

    Williams, an employee of Hurley International, was in San Diego for the 2008 Action Sports Retailer trade show. An autopsy performed on Williams was unable to determine a cause of death.

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    Huynh, an employee of a San Diego medical supply company, lived about one city block from the site where Williams' body was found.

    The break in the case came after detectives working on Jeremiah R.’s unsolved case identified Hunyh as a suspect and determined that DNA evidence collected after the crime in June matched evidence gathered in the Williams' case.

    Investigators were notified of the match Aug.15. Once they were notified the cases were connected, homicide investigators then adopted the sex crime case as their own.

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    “I would say a tremendous amount of the credit goes to the sex crime victim in this case,” said to Lt. Kevin Rooney of the San Diego Police Department. “He was courageous. He was completely helpful with us.”

    It took several weeks and search warrants to identify Huynh as the suspect.

    Huynh is being charged with a single count of murder and two counts of sexual assault. Both victims were drugged, police said.

    "This case involves the sexual assault of two young men, both heterosexual, and both found without their underwear," said Gretchen Means, deputy district attorney. "Both tested positive for benzodiazepine, a controlled narcotic and central nervous system depressant." In Williams' case, the drug was Diazepam, a form of Valium, according to Lt. Kevin Rooney.

    In the 17 months span between the Williams death and the June 2009 sex crime, investigators fear there may have been other victims. They have released Huynh's photo in the hope that any additional victims who have not reported a crime -- or anybody with information about either case -- would contact police at (619) 531-2293.

    Court documents show Huynh was charged with kidnapping and sexual assault in 2003 regarding an incident that took place in Arizona. He was arrested in San Diego but before he was extradited, the case was dismissed.

    A spokesperson for the Maricopa County DA’s office said their records show that Huynh had been jailed on charges of false imprisonment there in 2003.

    There is a $20,000 Crimestoppers reward in the Williams case. Rooney said he hopes the money goes to the second sexual assault victim.