Her Lover Killed Her Husband. He Just Testified Against Her

Denise Williams is on trial for murder, though she didn't pull the trigger
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2018 10:50 AM CST
Denise Williams listens to opening statements made by prosecutors during her trial Tuesday in Tallahassee, Fla.   (Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat via AP, Pool)
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(Newser) – On Tuesday, Brian Winchester took the stand and cried. He recounted looking for his missing best friend on Florida's Lake Seminole 18 years ago. But while his father "was searching ... I was just lying," he testified. That's because Winchester knew exactly where Mike Williams had ended up on Dec. 16, 2000: dumped in a mudhole. Winchester was the one to pull the trigger—he said he pushed his friend overboard while the two were on the lake, but when he didn't drown he shot Williams and then moved the body—but he's not the one on trial. That would be Williams' wife, Denise, who prosecutors accuse of conspiring with Winchester to get rid of her husband so the two could be together and collect a $1.75 million insurance payout. The Washington Post reports their affair began in 1997, when the two kissed at a Sister Hazel concert as their spouses parked the car.

Clandestine trips followed, and Winchester testified Denise wanted to be with him but rejected the idea of divorce and sharing custody of her daughter. He says the two settled on "boating accident," and the AP reports she's now charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and accessory after the fact. While Denise wasn't with him when the crime was committed, "She was in my head with me," Winchester testified, per the Tallahassee Democrat. "We were best friends; Bonnie and Clyde. We were partners in crime. Were we obsessed with each other? You could say that." Denise's attorney argues she had no idea about the plot, and that the only person who said she was a conspirator was Winchester—whom, in an odd series of twists, she ended up marrying in 2005 and being kidnapped by in 2016. Winchester is serving 20 years for that crime, and the deal he inked means that by testifying against Denise, he won't be charged in the murder. (Read more on the trial here.)

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