By: Alicia Turner | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 9, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Denise Williams made her first court appearance via video link from the jail Wednesday morning. She was denied bond and will remain in jail to await trial.
Williams was indicted Tuesday in the 2000 murder of her then husband Mike Williams, who vanished during a duck hunting trip on Lake Seminole.
The indictment accused her and her ex-husband Brian Winchester of plotting the murder over nine months.
We spoke with Mike Williams' mother, Cheryl Williams Wednesday morning.
"I am still in shock by everything that has happened," Cheryl Williams said. "I want any and everyone involved in Mike's death held responsible. I was keeping hope that he was alive all these years, now I want to know what happened."
The indictment says Winchester shot and killed Mike Williams in Jackson County. His body was found in Tallahassee in December 2017. FDLE announced the discovery of his remains soon after Winchester was sent to prison in a separate case for kidnapping Denise Williams at gunpoint.
Florida's Chief Financial Officer announced Wednesday morning that he is launching a fraud investigation to see if Williams' death was part of a scheme to profit from a multi-million dollar life insurance policy.
By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 8, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The widow of Mike Williams, the Tallahassee man who disappeared during a hunting trip in 2000 and was later found dead, has been charged with his murder.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirms that Denise Williams was taken into custody at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday on first degree murder charges.
State Attorney Jack Campbell confirms that Williams was indicted on three counts: Conspiracy to commit murder, first degree murder and accessory after the fact. Campbell would not comment on how Williams planned or committed the murder or any specifics of what she is accused of doing afterward.
The indictment unsealed Tuesday night says Denise Williams conspired with Brian Winchester to kill Mike Williams and indicates Mike Williams was shot and killed in Jackson County.
"I am surprised the grand jury indicted her," said Denise Williams' attorney Ethan Way. "There's been a drum beat against her for years, but she has nothing to do with Mike Williams' death. We will be mounting a vigorous defense and we are going to fight this," Way said.
Mike Williams was last seen alive on December 16, 2000. The 31-year-old left his home in Tallahassee to go duck hunting on Lake Seminole in Jackson County and never returned.
In December 2017, FDLE announced that Williams' remains had been found at the dead end of Gardner Road in Leon County. Investigators also announced that his death had been ruled a homicide.
The announcement about Williams' remains came one day after Williams' friend, Brian Winchester, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for kidnapping his estranged wife, Denise, who also happened to be Mike Williams' widow.
"It's very coincidental that Brian Winchester gets sentenced to 20 years in prison and now they miraculously find Mike Williams' body and now they're indicting Denise Williams," her attorney, Ethan Way said. 'Let's not forget she is the victim of a kidnapping."
Brian Winchester's attorney Tim Jansen says, "We don't anticipate him being charged. If he's subpoenaed or granted immunity, he will cooperate and testify truthfully at any hearing."
Jansen would not comment on whether Winchester was involved in the murder plot.
FDLE has sent a statement to WCTV, which reads in full:
"FDLE agents and analysts have logged over 3,000 hours on this case and FDLE crime scene scientists have spent countless hours analyzing evidence. I want to thank our investigators and State Attorney Jack Campbell’s Office who have worked so hard on this case. I also thank the Grand Jury."
Denise Williams is the first suspect to be charged in Mike Williams' murder.
The state attorney says currently no one else is charged in Williams' murder and "they will continue to follow the evidence."
Clay Ketcham used to work with Mike Williams. He's had a candle in his office window since Williams' body was found.
"This is a great day as hopefully we can start on the final chapter," Ketcham said about Tuesday's indictment. "Now they can bring justice to Mike Williams and his family. Mike was a great guy and I miss him every day. And I want those responsible held accountable."
Denise Williams will make her first appearance in court Wednesday morning.