February 4, 2014

Keller woman says she pled guilty to get back to daughter sooner

Days before she is to be sentenced on tampering and deadly conduct charges in her husband’s death, Michele Williams agrees to be interviewed at the Tarrant County Jail.

A Keller woman awaiting sentencing on charges related to the death of her husband says she took a plea deal in the case so that she could be reunited sooner with her young daughter.

“Circumstantial evidence is a 50-50. The DA even agreed, you know, it can go either way. Win big. Lose big,” said Michele Williams, 44, in an interview Tuesday with the Star-Telegram at the Tarrant County Jail, where she is being held until her Feb. 10 sentencing hearing.

“I do have a little girl,” said Williams, who broke into tears frequently during the interview. “With a plea deal, I’m looking at a couple of years before I’m out for parole. They said, ‘If you make first parole.’ I’ll make first parole.”

Williams, who was indicted on a murder charge in the death of her husband, Gregory Williams, pleaded guilty in October to tampering with evidence and deadly conduct in the case.

Investigators have said she sedated and then fatally shot her husband in October 2011 before hitting herself in the head with a wrench and staging their Keller home in the 1400 block of Jacob Avenue to make it appear as if an intruder was responsible.

She later changed her account and told Keller police that her husband committed suicide and that she made up the intruder story to protect the couple’s 4-year-old daughter.

Prosecutors have said they made the plea agreement because she had destroyed and doctored evidence necessary to prove an intentional murder, and that there were “serious legal and technical issues with the investigation.”

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend that Williams be sentenced to 18 years in prison in the tampering case and two years in the deadly conduct.

Dressed in a yellow Tarrant County Jail jumpsuit, Williams flashed bright pink-painted fingernails as she wiped tears from her face.

She said she could not discuss her husband’s death until after her sentencing, on her attorney’s advice.

“I really want everyone to know my side of everything. Everyone has one side,” Williams said. “I would love to respond to all these terrible things people are saying about me in the paper when the day before this happened, they would be at my house eating and drinking and having a good time with me.”

Williams described her marriage to Gregory Williams as “wonderful,” noting that Tuesday marked the eight-year anniversary of their first date.

Despite rumors that the two met in a racy, sexually oriented online community, Williams insisted Tuesday that they met on MySpace.

“I loved him very much,” she said. “I still love him so much.”

Change in plans

Williams was pregnant with twins when she accepted the plea in October, and her sentencing was delayed until April so that she could give birth before beginning her sentence.

But on Thursday, upon learning that Williams was no longer pregnant, state District Judge Scott Wisch held Williams’ bond insufficient and ordered her jailed until the new sentencing hearing date.

She declined to discuss how her pregnancy ended, although she did confirm that the father is her current boyfriend, Gene Wallis. She said she began dating him eight months after her husband’s death.

“I’m still struggling a lot with that,” she said of the loss.

Williams said she suspected she would be jailed when summoned by the judge Thursday.

“I had a very sick feeling that morning about coming to court,” she said. “I saw it coming.”

She is housed in a single cell because of the high profile of her case.

“Honestly, being out on bond has its pros and cons,” Williams said. “Yes, you’re not inside jail; however, all that hell that you go through and looking over your shoulder and trying to be somebody else to the world so they don’t judge you, that’s a real hard way to live and that’s not going toward your time.

“I look back and I think, gosh, if I had just stayed in, I would be almost done right now.”

Mentally preparing for prison

Williams acknowledges that she’s “scared to death” of prison.

“I’m devastated. I’m trying to mentally get there,” she said.

“Right now, while I’m here, some people think a private cell would be awful and scary.

“It’s the safest feeling you could possibly imagine because I’m not a criminal and the fear of being in with people who are — and I’m not saying they’re all criminals — but in the unit that I’m in, it’s a much safer feeling to be inside that little cell all by yourself,” she said.

She said she’s eager to begin her sentence.

“I’m actually, if you can say, looking forward to getting the sentencing over with so I can start moving towards the end of this hell and be at whatever prison they’re going to send me to. From what I understand, there’s classes and stuff I can do to help time pass and to keep my mind occupied. I’m a very intelligent woman.”

She added: “I’m a personal trainer. I just need to utilize it in order to make this time pass.”

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Williams will have to serve two years flat in the deadly conduct case and a quarter of the 18-year sentence — or 4.5 years — in the tampering case. With good conduct time, her sentence could be reduced.

Williams said that she’s been told she’ll probably have to serve about two years and four months before becoming eligible for parole.

“That sounds like a lifetime but it’s not 12 years, or 25 or 99,” Williams said, breaking into tears again.

Kathy Williams, Gregory Williams’ ex-wife and the mother of his 16-year-old daughter, said Tuesday that she believes prosecutors should have taken Michele Williams to trial on the murder charge.

“What kind of crap is that?” Kathy Williams said. “She killed him but she's saying she took [the plea] because she has a daughter to raise. Bull crap!”

Kathy Williams says she plans to be at every parole hearing in Michele Williams’ future.

“I will make sure she does the full time maximum she has to do,” Kathy Williams said. “She thinks she's going to get out in two years? I don't think so.”

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