Cody Dad Not Guilty In Toddler's Murder, Stepmother Got Life In Prison

Moshe Williams, 33, is not guilty in the 2021 murder of his 2-year-old daughter, a jury ruled Friday. His then-girlfriend Carolyn Aune, however, has been sentenced to life in prison for the crime.

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Clair McFarland

November 06, 20232 min read

Moshe Williams, left, and Carolyn Aune
Moshe Williams, left, and Carolyn Aune (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Two months after his then-girlfriend was sentenced for killing his daughter, a Cody man was acquitted Friday by a jury.

Moshe Williams, 33, is not guilty of killing his 2-year-old daughter, who died of severe injuries in 2021, a jury ruled Friday in the Hot Springs County District Court. Though charged in Park County, Williams faced his trial in the Thermopolis court after successfully applying for a venue transfer.

He was initially charged with first-degree murder in 2021, along with then-girlfriend Carolyn Aune.

Aune, 31, was convicted in April by a jury and sentenced to life in prison in September.  

Aune’s jury chose a first-degree murder variation by which a person is guilty of murder if she abuses a child and the child dies — even if the abuse was done recklessly rather than intentionally. Aune injured the toddler recklessly, the jury found.

Aune was the primary caretaker of Williams’ daughter that spring, court documents say.

Williams’ defense attorney Dylan Rosalez confirmed his acquittal in a Monday voicemail to Cowboy State Daily, but declined to comment further.

The case prosecutor, Park County assistant attorney Jack Hatfield II, did not return a voicemail for comment.

Williams could not be reached for comment by publication time.

Hospital Visit

According to an affidavit filed in the case in 2021, police noticed Aune and Williams when Williams brought his 2-year-old daughter to the emergency room in Cody on March 27, 2021.    

The girl was unresponsive, her body was covered in bruises and doctors believed she was suffering from internal bleeding.    

Williams told police that the girl had been vomiting all night and he bathed her and cared for her. He also reportedly told a trauma doctor he believed the bruising could be from an infection, according to the affidavit.    

“I don’t beat my child,” he told a Cody Police officer who responded to the hospital, the affidavit relates.

Gut Punch

When the child died a week later in a children’s hospital in Colorado, an autopsy by Dr. Stephen Cina showed that she had a detached bowel from what he described as a “gut punch.”

It likely caused her death by causing bacterial or fungal infections in her organs and leading to fluid buildup in her brain and lungs, Cina concluded.    

Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter