Accused killer of trans woman seeks suppression of police statement

Charles N. Sargent, who allegedly stabbed to death trans woman Diamond Williams, seeks the suppression of a statement he gave to Philadelphia police.

Sargent was arrested in July 2013 and allegedly confessed to killing Williams.

Shortly after Sargent’s arrest, he allegedly told police that he stabbed Williams in self-defense after she demanded a pre-arranged payment of $40 for performing oral sex on him. Sargent allegedly told police he declined to pay the money because Williams had a penis.

He also allegedly confessed to dismembering Williams’ body, then depositing her body parts in a vacant lot near his Strawberry Mansion residence.

Last month, defense attorney J. Michael Farrell filed a motion on Sargent’s behalf, seeking the suppression of Sargent’s statement.

According to the motion, Sargent was questioned by police under duress.

“The defendant’s statement was the product of physical or psychological coercion,” the motion states.

The motion contends that Sargent didn’t speak to police of his own volition.

“Any statements made were involuntary [and] are the result of a weak, psychiatrically ill and deficient mentality, peculiarly susceptible to the suggestions, threats, wheedling, cajolery and coercion present in the instant case,” the motion states.

The motion also states that police failed to explain to Sargent the specific charges he was being questioned about.

Sargent wasn’t warned that “he could not be released from custody no matter what he said, since criminal proceedings had been initiated against him,” the motion adds.

The motion also seeks the suppression of all physical evidence collected against Sargent:

“The seizure of physical evidence was based upon materially inaccurate factual information, included with reckless disregard to its truth or falsity. Any and all evidence which is the fruit of any illegal and/or unconstitutional action by police should be suppressed.”

Additionally, the motion requests the preservation of all investigative notes; the names and addresses of all prosecution witnesses; details about any favorable treatment offered to prosecution witnesses; the prior criminal record of Williams; and all written or recorded statements by Sargent’s alleged accomplices, even if they haven’t been charged.

Sargent, 45, remains incarcerated at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia.

He’s charged with murder, abuse of corpse, possessing an instrument of crime and terroristic threats.

The District Attorney’s Office isn’t seeking the death penalty.

A pre-trial conference is set for 10 a.m. March 17 in Courtroom 1105 of the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St. 

Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner is scheduled to preside.


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Tim Cwiek has been writing for PGN since the 1970s. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from West Chester State University. In 2013, he received a Sigma Delta Chi Investigative Reporting Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his reporting on the Nizah Morris case. Cwiek was the first reporter for an LGBT media outlet to win an award from that national organization. He's also received awards from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the National Newspaper Association, the Keystone Press and the Pennsylvania Press Club.