New testimony ties Keller ‘black widow’ to strip club

03/07/2014 3:59 PM

03/07/2014 4:00 PM

The story of Michele Williams has taken another twisted turn.

Williams, the Keller woman charged in her husband’s shooting death in 2011, worked as a waitress at a strip club after she told court officials that she was pregnant and while she was free on bail and supposed to be wearing an ankle monitor, according to testimony Thursday by her probation officer.

Williams, known in the media as the “Keller black widow,” was initially indicted on a murder charge, but she later reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to charges of tampering with evidence and deadly conduct.

Last month, state District Judge Scott Wisch threw out the plea deal after Williams told a 48 Hours TV crew that she was innocent of those charges. Wisch then recused himself from the case and agreed to her defense attorneys’ request to recuse themselves.

With charges of murder and tampering with evidence back in play, and the case reassigned, on Thursday state District Judge George Gallagher set Williams’ bail at $500,000 and $20,000 on the two charges, respectively, court records showed.

During the hearing, Williams’ probation officer testified that she had worked at a sports bar and as a waitress at a “gentleman’s club,” according to an email from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

The probation officer also said that data from Williams’ ankle monitor did not indicate that she visited a doctor’s office even though she had told court officials that she was pregnant with twins. The probation officer reviewed data from the ankle monitor from the end of August until the end of January, he testified.

Williams’ son testified that on one occasion he saw Williams remove her ankle monitor, and he saw it in her purse.

CultureMap Dallas, which first reported the story, said the strip club where Williams worked was in Dallas.

Sentencing delayed

Williams, 44, initially blamed the fatal shooting of Gregory Williams on Oct. 13, 2011, on an nighttime intruder in their home in the 1400 block of Jacob Avenue in Keller.

Then she changed her story, telling police that he killed himself. She said she had lied to protect their 4-year-old daughter, who was in the house at the time of the shooting, from finding out that her father committed suicide.

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

Gregory Williams, 40, owned a computer programming company in North Texas, and his wife was the office manager. She had also operated a frozen-yogurt shop in north Fort Worth, across from Keller Central High School.

After her husband’s death, she worked at a fitness center.

Although Williams was indicted on a murder charge in June 2012, prosecutors said they later offered her the plea agreement because of “serious legal and technical issues with the investigation.”

In October, Williams pled guilty to charges of deadly conduct and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors agreed to recommend an 18-year prison sentence for tampering with evidence and a two-year sentence for deadly conduct.

Sentencing by a judge had been set for April because she was supposedly pregnant with twins, but the sentencing date was moved to February when court officials learned that she was no longer pregnant.

Plea thrown out

In February, Wisch threw out the plea agreement after prosecutors questioned statements Williams made during a jailhouse interview with 48 Hours professing her innocence.

During a hearing, Williams told Wisch: “Your honor, I’m not guilty and I can’t sit here and answer the question the way everyone wants me to.”

In a jailhouse interview with the Star-Telegram, Williams said she accepted the plea to avoid the risk of getting a longer sentence in a trial and so she could be reunited sooner with her daughter. Williams said she was confident she would make parole when first eligible, in two years and four months.

Williams declined to discuss specifics of her husband’s death or the events that followed with the Star-Telegram, citing her attorney’s advice to wait until after her sentencing hearing.

But she apparently was more forthcoming in the interview the next day with 48 Hours. The segment was not scheduled to air until after Wisch formally sentenced her.

In a motion to drop the plea agreement and reinstate Williams’ murder charge, prosecutors Jack Strickland and Sheila Wynn included several statements by Tarrant County sheriff’s deputies and employees who were present during the 48 Hours interview.

Emily Pedigo wrote that during the TV interview, Williams commented that she had been “falsely accused” of her husband’s murder and that she hoped, by talking to the media, that the person responsible will come forward and stop her from taking the fall.

Williams, who remained in the Tarrant County Jail on Friday, is scheduled to next be in court on Aug. 7, according to records from the Tarrant County district clerk’s office.

This includes material from Star-Telegram archives.

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