That allowed her to claim Mike's insurance policies worth $1.75 million. Her efforts led to the Investigation Discovery cable channel doing a segment on Michael's disappearance and the later investigations in late 2011. Winchestertestified against Denise, whom he later married and divorced, in exchange for immunity from prosecution for the murder. Judge Kevin J. Carroll said Denise will get credit for time already served in prison. "We didn't have a whole lot to go on except there was an empty boat and the guy didn't show up," one of the agency's officers recalled later, after his retirement. Derrick Wester, an investigator with the Jackson County sheriff's office, agreed that they were "trying to make up for" not having considered the possibility that things might not have been what they seemed in 2000. In August 2021, the seventh season premiere of the A&E Network series Cold Case Files featured the case. Mike was a promising football player and was voted best personality, while Denise Merrell, who would later become Mikes wife but was known by her maiden name at the time, cheered for the North Florida Eagles and won the title of best dressed. Mike won the title of best personality, while Denise won the title of best dressed., According to Mikes former classmates, he was well regarded at the exclusive private school, where he not only excelled academically but also held the position of student council president. Denise Williams was initially found guilty in December 2018 of murder and conspiracy in the case and sentenced to life in prison, but the murder conviction was later overturned. No amount of good deeds can bring my husband back Mike back, Denise said in court. I never once saw him consult with her about anything," said Anslee Williams, who was only 18 months when her father went missing. She did not speak to the media about how she reacted to the news. The following year his father died. "The mere fact that they can't locate the body isn't necessarily something the insurance industry would care about," he said. In December, a jury found Denise guilty of all three charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree murder, and accessory after the fact. The one-hour special broadcast implicates the true criminal, Mikes high school sweetheart, and shows us who she really is. "[16], And even if an alligator had "defied all known gator behavior," and eaten Williams's body, as another investigator, Ronnie Austin, then with the state's attorney's office, put it, it would likely have left something behind. Also Read:Regina Krieger Murder: Where Are Gilberto Rodriguez and Cody Thompson Now? life prison sentence for the murder of her husband, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Anslee, who is now 20 years old, was rewarded all the insurance money. Her fate, in which she could have been. His office kept the case open, and had some persons of interest, although he did not identify them. Jerry Michael "Mike" Williams (October 16, 1969[2] December 16, 2000) was an American murder victim. Family members of murder victim Jerry "Mike" Williams repeated a startling allegation against his widow Denise Williams on Wednesday. He helped police recover Brian's body, and testified against his former lover Denise, who had for years escaped justice as a grieving widow. If she breaks the conditions of the agreement, the state could order her to pay $150,000 in damages. Denise and Brian were having an affair, and they planned to murder each others husbands so that they could be together. His coworkers said he was as devoted to her as he was to his work. I was married to a wonderful woman, I was raising a child, and I was also seeing Denise in the meantime. If she violates terms of the agreement, the state could force her to turn over $150,000 in damages. "Truth is Williams could have stopped this". By then, officers had learned that alligators do not, in fact, eat during the winter months, as the water is too cold, and as such, it was suspected that foul play might have occurred. Want to get an all access pass to the latest news, analysis, commentary, photos and video?Become a digital subscriber to support our investigative journalism. [11], The three-page indictment was released two days later. There Mike excelled, serving as student council president, playing football and being active in the Key Club. (Featured Image Credit: Alicia Devine / Tallahassee Democrat via AP), #DeniseWilliams Judge formally sentences Williams to life in prison for the murder of her husband. The lake is a large reservoir approximately 50mi (80km) west-northwest of Tallahassee located in the southwest corner of Georgia along its border with Florida, where three other streams merge to form the Apalachicola River. [4], After Denise Williams was arrested, the FDLE disclosed that they had received information on where the body was in early October 2017. And fortunately, it looks like the tragedy surrounding her family isn't slowing her down. In December 2017, Brian was sentenced to 20 years in prison for Denises kidnapping, but the whole incident led to the focus to be on their relationship and their potential connection to Mikes sudden disappearance and death. But it did not produce any new evidence, as the potential crime scene had not been secured during the search for Williams. Brian had cracked and told them the truth, but, it was in exchange for complete immunity. But, when Mike started to realize what was happening and started struggling, Brian panicked and shot him in the head, straight in his face at point-blank range. [17], Starting on New Year's Day in 2012, Cheryl began writing one letter a day to Governor Rick Scott, asking him to either have another agency besides FDLE investigate or appoint a special prosecutor to do so. "[16], The waders, discovered almost six months after Williams's disappearance, further undermined the alligator theory. But because of Cheryl Williams' efforts to reopen the investigation, over 17 years later, the remains of Williams' body were found and authorities actually confirmed that he was murdered. The truth, though, was that Denise had been cheating on Mike with his best friend, Brian Winchester, since 1997. During the search period, daytime temperatures averaged around 55F (13C), with overnight lows below freezing. The case broke open in 2016 when Denise Williams' then husbandBrian Winchesterwas arrested for kidnapping her. Denise and Mike Williams with their daughter Anslee. She said: "I don't like having to ask the judge to put her in jail for the rest of her life, but what she did to Mike, she deserves, and I think God gave us justice. [31], In January 2020, Denise Williams appealed her conviction and life sentence. Mike and Denise's daughter, who was 18 months when the murder happened, spoke in court and asked for leniency for her mother At the time of the trial investigators said Denise's motives were to get out of the marriage and collect nearly $2million from life insurance. Brian, on the other hand, disobeyed the plan, and the two only managed to kill Mike. Perry, the FFWCC officer who had been heavily involved in the original search, added at the time that if he or any other person investigating had known that there was a large life insurance policy on Williams, and who the beneficiary was, that search might have been handled differently. Danny Fujikawa Mother Melissa Linehan Is Getting Her Backyard Remodeled On TV, Yellowstones Lilli Kay Announces Relationship With Girlfriend Juli Kocemba With PDA on Instagram, Olivier Richters Girlfriend Desiree Stuijt Is Not Only His Lover But Also His Best Friend, Brittney Palmer Bio: Family, Husband & Net Worth, Molly Eskam Age, Net Worth & All Biography Updated Dec 2022, Morgan Ketzner Wiki, Bio, Age, Boyfriend, Fitness and More. A 2016 kidnapping . [12] In 2020, a Florida appellate court overturned her murder conviction but upheld her murder conspiracy conviction, for which she will serve 30 years. Carrie Cox, the psychic and profiler who had identified a possible burial site at which no body was found, published Alligator Alibi, a lengthy book with documents from the investigation, Cheryl Williams's notes, and her own commentary. View the profiles of people named Denise Williams. He distinguished himself as "the hardest-working man I ever saw", according to the company's owner. But Denise's friends said she took great care. She added that she is alone among her family in holding out hope that her son is still alive. Williams'. "I get criticized a lot for not admitting that Mike's dead," she told the Tallahassee Democrat in 2007. Denise met Mike back in North Florida Christian High School when they were both just teenagers. But if Michael Williams was to be proven dead and the beneficiary were to have shown to have been involved, or if he was still alive (as his mother and many residents of Jackson County believed possible),[3] then an insurance company would strongly consider pursuing a case. The Williams case has been ongoing since Mike Williams disappeared more than 20 years ago. [29], Five months later, Mike and Denise's daughter Anslee was awarded all assets of her late father's estate and insurance monies due to Denise, after her mother signed them over to her to avoid prosecution on three counts of insurance fraud. On Nov. 14, Williams' family and a coalition of birth justice activists will hold their fourth rally for Denise outside Queens Hospital Center. She competed for Miss Florida USA and she actually won Miss Tallahassee Teen USA in 2017. The second-born child of Cliff and Clair Huxtable, Denise is known for her eccentric clothing and free-spirited, rebellious nature, earning her a reputation as . [3] The water, already at 58F (14C) the day of Williams's disappearance, dropped to 46F (8C), and the lake iced out to as much as 20 feet (6.1m) from shore. [16], In those conditions, "it [i]s highly unlikely an alligator would have been active" said Matt Aresco, a local herpetologist authorities had consulted. She shares Matt Healy, 32, who is a band member in The 1975, with and . According to a representative of the manufacturer, if the engine had been running when Williams allegedly fell out of the boat, as investigators had theorized, it should have stayed on, with the boat running in circles until its fuel was exhausted. It was noted that Denise Williams's court petition to have her husband declared legally dead mentioned only the Kansas City Life Insurance Company policies Winchester had sold him, omitting policies through other companies that Michael Williams had obtained through other sources. The following year his father died. She arranged for a memorial service for Mike to be held the day after the search ended. On Wednesday, she received a mandatory life sentence for the murder as well as an additional . Distractify is a registered trademark. Midway through the year, the couple bought a $1 million life insurance policy on him through Brian Winchester,[6] a childhood acquaintance of Merrell who had also become best friends with her husband. Williams-Winchester has been serving her time at the Florida Womens Reception Center, located in Ocala, Marion County, Fla. Meanwhile, more information about her life is now unavailable. "Everyone knows the lake is full of alligators," said the FFWCC's David Arnette. Still, he decided to follow Williams-Winchester's new plan to get rid of Mike Williams by the lake. However, their relationship didnt go as well as they had expected and they separated in 2012. Almost Three Decades Since His Last Murder, Lorenzo Gilyard Maintains His Innocence. Each time she brought it up, Denise attempted to change the subject,[12] but at one point asked "What do you know? She now attends Florida State University and she also competes in pageants. At that time, the case was still considered open. The Crime Junkie podcast featured the case in an episode that was released in early 2019. Published June 9, 2021 at 1:39 PM EDT. He also married Denise and had a daughter. [3], In June, an angler in the Stump Field area discovered a pair of waders floating in the lake, and divers called to search the area then recovered from the lake bottom a lightweight hunting jacket and a flashlight: in one of the jacket pockets, there was a hunting license with Williams's name and signature. Denise Williams, who is serving a life prison sentence for the murder of her husband Mike Williams,will not face additional insurance fraud charges or pay restitution to the state. The order of no restitutionwas approved and the fraud charges formally dropped at a Tuesday morning courthearing. She not only killed my son, she stole my granddaughter, she said. All Rights Reserved. He acted independently of her. Heres all that we know. She was outraged. According to him, it was not out of character for Mike to play the role of the protective elder brother. Denise Williams said her purpose is to serve incarcerated women and help them lead successful lives. [4], Brian was arrested and charged with kidnapping, domestic assault, and armed burglary, with two of the charges being felonies. While she was talking on her phone to her sister, she saw someone climb over the back seat of her car. Denise Williams, 49, was sentenced to life in prison in Florida on Wednesday . He did not want the divorce and felt he had nothing to live for if it went through. This sentencing hearing came after the First District Court of Appeals decided in Nov. 2020 to overturn her murder conviction in the case. A FLORIDA woman found guilty of plotting her husband's murder with her then-lover decades ago has been re-sentenced. Mike Williams Daughter Anslee Williams Interview on Fathers Murder Case. If she's locked up forever, you can't say you're happy. What that agreement required of Winchester, if anything, beyond his guilty plea has not been disclosed. Anslees condition is that she cant use any of the money or assets she received to help pay her mothers legal bills or other costs related to the murder case or any pending appeals. At the age of 15, he began duck hunting as a hobby, and also came to know fellow student Denise Merrell. After rejecting plans for a murder at Mike's office meant to look like a robbery, Winchester hit on the idea of an apparent hunting accident after he saved Mike from quicksand when the two were hunting in Arkansas. When did Stephanie Grisham resign as Melania Trump's chief of staff? And fortunately, it looks like the tragedy surrounding her family isn't slowing her down. Anslee Williams was only 18 months old when her father died in a tragic accident that tormented her for years. [10] After a hearing the next week at which she said she could neither eat nor sleep since the incident, the court decided to hold Brian without bond. Denise married husband Lincoln Townley in 2013 and was previously married to actor Tim Healy between from 1988 until 2012. Before we get into the meat of uncovering whatever happened to Deniece Williams, we will take a short look at her life and career. [22], No mention was made of the Williams case at Brian Winchester's sentencing, although State Attorney Jack Campbell told the media that he hoped the case against Winchester would help authorities solve that disappearance. Denise Williams herself took the stand as well. Williams has been married three times and has four sons. Cheryl Williams wrote letters daily to the governor, asking him to have the state reopen the investigation even though two later investigations were likewise unable to uncover any significant new information, alienating many of the law enforcement officials she had previously persuaded to reopen it.
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