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Florida Supreme Court refuses to review Denise Williams murder conspiracy case

(WCTV)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 12:28 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida Supreme Court has declined to review the Denise Williams murder and conspiracy case in a unanimous order issued Wednesday morning.

The State of Florida was asking the state’s highest court to review a First District Court of Appeals decision that overturned Williams’ murder conviction in the death of her husband, Mike Williams.

“The effect of the decision is it’s the end of the road for the murder conviction. That is over at this point,” Williams’ defense attorney Phil Padavano said. “Now we’ll deal with the conspiracy conviction.”

Mike Williams disappeared in December 2000 while on a duck hunting trip with his friend Brian Winchester. Winchester later confessed to conspiring with Denise Williams to kill Mike and make it look like an accident, so they could be together and collect on his life insurance policies.

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.

Williams’ conspiracy conviction and the 30-year sentence she received for it still stand.

Padavano says Williams is now entitled to a new sentencing hearing on the conspiracy conviction. He contends the court considered Williams’s murder conviction in imposing the maximum sentence on the conspiracy charge and must now re-sentence her “as if the murder charge never happened.”

“She faces two to 30 years,” Padavano says of the sentencing guidelines.

“I think it would be a miscarriage of justice,” State Attorney Jack Campbell said of the possibility of a significantly lower sentence.

“In no way are we backing down. I understand and respect the Court’s opinion, but we’ll continue to seek justice for Mike’s family and seek the maximum penalty we can get,” Campbell said.

Campbell said the lead prosecutor on the case and the victim advocate discussed the court’s ruling with Mike Williams’ family as soon as the decision was released.

“We’ll be ready for whatever comes next,” Campbell said.

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