A Florida womanwas found guilty Friday night for her role in the murder 18 years ago of her first husband. After eight hours of deliberation, a Le
A Florida womanwas found guilty Friday night for her role in the murder 18 years ago of her first husband.
After eight hours of deliberation, a Leon County jury convicted 48-year-old Denise Williams of all three charges against her.
She faces life in prison for conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree murder and accessory after the fact for masterminding and concealing a wicked plot to free her from the marriage and collect nearly $2 million in life insurance money.
The guilty verdict brings closure to the nearly two-decade-long mystery of what happened to Mike Williams, a 31-year-old father and real estate appraiser when he went missing Dec. 16, 2000.
“We got justice for Michael,” his mother, Cheryl Williams, told Assistant State Attorney Jon Fuchs moments after the three guilty verdicts were read by Leon Circuit Judge James Hankinson.
Denise Williams remained emotionless, as she had during four days of testimony. The verdicts came two days shy of 18 years to the day that Mike Williams was murdered.
Fuchs said he was happy he and his team were able to bring some resolution for Mike Williams’ family and friends.
“This is a career case,” Fuchs told reporters. “It’s not every day in your career that you get to be involved in an unsolved homicide that is 17 years old and through team effort make an arrest and ultimately get a conviction on a 17-year-old homicide.”
He described how close he became with Mike Williams’ family over the course of the investigation.
“They’ll always be a part of my life,” he said. “Miss Cheryl and that smile that she has and then the thanks that she just gave me, and our team, of course, there’s no way to describe it.”
Denise Williams’ attorney Ethan Way described her reaction as “stunned, she’s just shocked; she’s very upset.”
He told reporters he would appeal the convictions. A date for her sentencing will be set next week.
“It’s terrible; it’s the wrong verdict on the facts, but you have to respect what the jury does,” Way said. “Obviously, I don’t think she’s guilty of any of the three counts. Ultimately, we submitted the case to the jury and the jury made a decision.”