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Opening Arguments

Less than perfect

"Perfect" isn't quite one of those absolutes like "unique." There are markers along the way to perfection, which is why the Constitution can refer to a "more perfect union." But what do various degrees of perfection mean? Based on my reading of this story, I realize I may not have a clear understanding of "almost" perfect.

Shawn Williams owed his drug dealer, Lyman Diggins, money, so he allegedly killed him instead, conspring to do so with Rodney Johnson, who had also run up a tab. This happened 14 years ago, and it's taken this long for a witness to come forward so Williams can be tried:

In his opening statement, St. Joseph Deputy Prosecutor Joel Gabrielse told jurors that Williams and Johnson almost carried out the perfect crime except for two critical facts.

First, Williams allegedly discussed the crime with several people, many of whom have been called to testify in this week's trial.

Second, they left behind a gasoline container cap, which had Johnson's fingerprint on it, Gabrielse said. The pair allegedly doused the vehicle in gasoline before setting the car on fire, burning Diggins "beyond recognition."

On second thought, it's the deputy prosecutor who may be a little unclear on the concept. If murderers had a "don't be stupid" handbook, "keep your mouth shut" and "don't leave any fingerprints" would be on the first page.