Twin sister of woman killed by Bastrop County deputy grateful for indictment

Twin sister of woman killed by Bastrop County deputy grateful for indictment

BASTROP, Texas -- You can't look at Yvonne Williams and not think about Yvette Smith.

"I have family members that still call me Yvette, so you know we're identical twins. I was just born two minutes earlier," said Williams.

Not only best friends, they worked together at Austin State Hospital. Now Williams is left to live without her sister.

On Feb. 16, 2014 two Bastrop County Sheriff's deputies went to check out a call at Smith's boyfriend's house. The caller said he and his son were fighting over a gun. Investigators say when deputies arrived, Smith came to the door where deputy Daniel Willis shot her in the lower abdomen and hip. The 47-year-old died from her injuries.

Initially, officials said Smith came to the doorway with a firearm and disregarded Willis' command. They later retracted that statement saying it's unclear whether Smith had a gun.

On Tuesday, a grand jury indicted Willis for murder.

"Just fired at her, just fired at her and shot her. And I can tell you this, she did not have a weapon," said Joe Turner, a lawyer representing the Smith family.

They are considering filing a civil suit against the county and say Willis, who had been with the agency for less than one year, should never have been hired.

"He tried to get a job at Travis County, they didn't hire him. He was working as a jailer here for five, six, seven years," said Turner. "That ought to tell you something, and then tried to get a job with Austin Police Department. They didn't hire him."

A 2012 evaluation from Travis County said Willis needed "more development in handling explosive situations" and "utilization of common sense." He resigned in May of 2013, nine months before the shooting.

"You get what you pay for. Unfortunately, unfortunately, Yvette Smith had to pay for all this with her life. You have to pay these officers well, you have to train them well, you have to choose well," said Turner.

"A part of me is gone, you know, and I wish I could have that back, but I can't. I just want justice for her," said Williams.

Willis was arrested, booked into jail and fired from the sheriff's office Tuesday. His bond is set at $100,000.

There will likely be a civil suit against the county a special prosecutor has been appointed to represent the District Attorney's Office in this case. Willis is expected to be in court in a few weeks.


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