Pregnant Keller woman pleads guilty in husband’s death

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A Keller woman who first blamed her husband’s fatal shooting on an intruder, then claimed he took his own life, has accepted responsibility for causing his death.

But instead of murder, Michele Marie Williams, 44, pleaded guilty to deadly conduct and tampering with physical evidence in a plea agreement reached late Tuesday. Prosecutors will recommend an 18-year prison sentence for tampering with physical evidence and a two-year sentence for deadly conduct.

State District Judge Scott Wisch is scheduled to sentence Williams on April 21. The sentencing was delayed until then because she is pregnant with twins, Deputy Chief District Attorney Jack Strickland said. She remains free on bail until then.

“This agreement was reached after we met with the victim’s family and thoroughly reviewed the evidence and circumstances of the case,” Strickland said Wednesday in a news release from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

“There was some serious legal and technical issues with the investigation that factored into this decision. Specifically, the defendant succeeded in destroying and doctoring evidence necessary to prove an intentional murder.”

Changing stories

Police summoned to a home in the 1400 block of Jacob Avenue shortly before 5 a.m. Oct. 13 found Gregory Williams dead inside the master bedroom, a gunshot wound to his right temple.

Michele Williams initially told police that a man dressed in black had entered through a back door, hit her in the head and shot her husband.

Investigators found scratches around the doorknob and deadbolt lock of a back door and noted that Williams had a bruised cheek.

Later, after authorities found a .45-caliber handgun, a shell casing and a wrench near the back door, away from the body, Williams changed her account, saying her husband had committed suicide.

She told police that she lied to protect their 4-year-old daughter, who was in the house when the shooting took place, from finding out that her father had killed himself.

A search warrant affidavit indicated that Williams may have sedated her husband and turned up the television to cover the sound of the gunshot. The affidavit also implied that she may have used the Internet to research how to stage a crime scene.

Strickland said he believes that Williams used Clorox wipes to clean her hands and the victim’s, as well as the gun, and also repositioned tools and her husband’s arms to make it appear that someone had broken in.

“She hit herself on the head with a wrench and then placed the wrench by the back door,” Strickland said. “She jimmied open the back door to make it appear that someone had broken into the house.”

Evidence ‘manipulated’

Discrepancies between the search warrant affidavit and the search warrant itself and some questions about the execution of the crime scene search made prosecuting the case difficult, Strickland said. Questions also surrounded the postmortem exam, he said.

Strickland thinks he could have proved that the culprit wasn’t an intruder, he said, but convincing a jury that it wasn’t suicide might have been more of a problem.

“We have no direct evidence that she ever pulled the trigger, and part of that is because of how she manipulated the evidence,” Strickland said. “Any one of those problems might not have been fatal to the case, but the cumulative effect of all that has happened was the reason that we tried to resolve it.”

Gregory Williams owned a computer programming company in North Texas, and his wife was the office manager.

Michele Williams had operated a frozen-yogurt shop in far north Fort Worth across from Keller Central High School.

The agreement calls for her to relinquish any right to insurance benefits from her husband’s death. Strickland said he will try to obtain a waiver from the insurance company that Williams will have to sign before she is sentenced.

“We had a lengthy meeting with the family in this case, and they are very decent and levelheaded people,” Strickland said. “While they wish that the circumstances had been different, they concurred with this offer. Clearly, had the family not been in agreement with this, we would have taken our chances in court.”

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752 Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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