After all of her assets were voluntarily given to Mike Williams' sole heir, the purpose of the charge was fulfilled. Anslee is apparently a student at Florida State University, Mike’s alma mater. Winchester would go on to be the star witness against Denise in the trial. Brian Winchester confesses to killing Mike Williams. He pushed Mike off the boat, thinking he’d drown and they could pass it off as a boating accident. In its non-prosecution statement, Fuchs said the primary purpose of the fraud case was to ensure Denise Williams did not and cannot profit from her husband's death. He said that Denise suggested a plan to kill both their spouses since Denise’s family frowned upon divorce. On May 8, 2018, Denise Williams was arrested at Florida State as she left work to celebrate her daughter's 19th birthday, minutes after a grand jury had indicted her on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and accessory after the fact. Instead, Winchester followed Denise’s plans to get rid of Mike. If she violates terms of the agreement, the state could force her to turn over $150,000 in damages. Winchester accepted a sweetheart deal in exchange for immunity and has been serving his prison sentence at the Wakulla Correctional Institution (male) for kidnapping Denise. Under the terms of the agreement, Anslee Williams, 20, is prohibited from using any of the money or assets she received to help pay her mothers' legal fees or other costs associated with the murder case or any ongoing appeals. The plan was to make it look like an accidental drowning, but when Williams resurfaced and tried to get out of the water, Winchester shot him in the head and buried his body. After the search ended, she held a memorial for him. They continued to live in the same house that Denise shared with Mike. Oxygen’s latest gripping series, Injustice with Nancy Grace, will see the former prosecutor explore cases where justice came very late for victims. "Mike would have wanted her to have this," said Cheryl Williams, Mike's mom and Anslee's grandmother. Don’t Miss: Jessica Reid-Gregory Fester Case Featured in Netflix’s “The Confession Tapes”. But many were suspicious about his disappearance. "Further," the statement said, "it was the wishes of Jerry 'Mike' Williams's mother and brother that his heir be 'taken care of.'". Her efforts led to her becoming estranged from Denise, but Cheryl continued with the search for Mike. Her lawyer claimed that Denise denied the accusations and said she had nothing to do with Winchester allegedly killing Mike. Contact News Director Jennifer Portman at jportman@tallahassee.com. She was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and accessory after the fact. The immunity deal followed a plea and sentencing agreement with prosecutors after Winchester kidnapped Denise in the final days of their marriage because he was afraid she would pin the murder on him alone. "Michael would have wanted her to be taken care of for the rest of her life.". Cheryl Williams' emotional statement at Denise Williams' sentencing. Not knowing that just two years later, he'd be the one to crack. Almost Three Decades Since His Last Murder, Lorenzo Gilyard Maintains His Innocence, Here's What to Know About Nxivm Ringleader Allison Mack's Sentencing Date (TW), What Happened to Bobbie Jo Stinnett's Baby? In 2016, Winchester attempted to kidnap Denise and was arrested. The assets given to Anslee Williams include four pieces of Tallahassee real estate valued at about $877,000, including her home on Centennial Oaks Circle, purchased by her parents when she was a baby. If she's locked up forever, you can't say you're happy. Both agreed to get rid of their spouses so that they could be together and collect the insurance money. He explained that he was the one who lured Mike Williams to Lake Seminole and attempted to kill him by pushing him off the boat. She said: "I don't like having to ask the judge to put her in jail for the rest of her life, but what she did to Mike, she deserves, and I think God gave us justice. He said that he lured Mike to Lake Seminole the day he disappeared. I just did what God put on my heart to do.". Mike Williams disappeared back in 2000. Winchester reportedly claimed that he and Denise had been having an affair behind their respective spouses’ backs since high school. Prosecutors continued to keep details of the crime to themselves, saying they would share them in court when the time came. Want to get an all access pass to the latest tallahassee.com news, analysis, commentary, photos and video?Become a digital subscriber to support our investigative journalism. On the morning of December 16, 2000, he went duck hunting at Lake Seminole on his boat. Shortly after they became parents, Mike and Denise took out a $1.0-million life insurance policy on Mike through Brian Winchester (born October 27, 1970), a mutual childhood friend. By: Caroline John - Published: July 19, 2019 at 12:58 pm. She even organized a private search team to find answers. Mike Williams' body was discovered in 2017 after Winchester told investigators in detail how he and Denise, who'd been having a years' long affair, planned to get rid of him, make it look like an accident and collect on his life insurance policies. Authorities said that it had been determined that Mike was murdered, though the specifics were not revealed. Eventually, search efforts were scaled back before the case went cold. Denise Williams Was Arrested On May 8, 2018, Denise was arrested on the day she was going to celebrate Anslee’s 19th birthday. It was actually Mike Williams' mom, Cheryl, who appealed to the judge for a maximum sentence. She now attends Florida State University and she also competes in pageants. But that could not save her. Investigators theorized that if Mike had drowned, his body would come to surface as it usually happens. There is no manual to tell a mother what to do when her child goes missing. She was convicted in December of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the 17-year-old cold case. The Most Notorious Crime in Every State in the U.S. Who Killed the Eight Louisiana Women in Showtime's 'Murder in the Bayou'? When he didn’t return back in time for a trip they were planning to take together, a search party combed the lake. Also Read: Details You Need To Know About Bianca Devins Murder, From Utica, New York, Everything You Need To Know About Norma Jean Clark Case Featured in Netflix’s “, Jessica Reid-Gregory Fester Case Featured in Netflix’s “, [With CCTV Footages] George Powell Case in Netflix’s “, Details You Need To Know About Bianca Devins Murder, From Utica, New York, Burglary Assault, Kidnap, Assault or Terrorize. According to the Williamses, Denise had threatened to cut them out of Anslee’s life if they didn’t give up on searching for Mike. But Mike’s mother, Cheryl Williams, suspected foul play. I'm not happy because I don't have Michael.". On May 8, 2018, Denise was arrested on the day she was going to celebrate Anslee’s 19th birthday. As for Williams' mom, Cheryl, she's understandably heartbroken that she will never get her son back, but it's all because of her efforts that the truth finally came to light. But after a heated confrontation among Cheryl, Nick, and Denise and Brian took place in 2005, Denise reportedly made sure neither Cheryl nor her family ever saw Anslee again. “If she’s locked up forever, you can’t say you’re happy. Winchester, who was in prison at the time, was charged as well. But when Mike resurfaced by climbing a tree stump, Winchester shot him in the face with a shotgun. He married Denise Merrell (born March 7, 1970), his high school sweetheart from North Florida Christian High School, in 1994. Denise’s attorney argued that there was no evidence connecting her to the crime and it was all Winchester’s doing. They would go on to separate in 2012 and divorce in 2015. "I brought her daddy home for her and she's financially independent now. I’m not happy because I don’t have Michael.”, Denise Williams Mugshot (Source: Florida Department of Corrections). Winchester is serving a 20 year prison term. Denise Williams is appealing her conviction and life-prison sentence. Winchester also raised Anslee as his stepdaughter. The order of no restitution was approved and the fraud charges formally dropped at a Tuesday morning court hearing. Her Killer Was Sentenced to Death, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully Used the “Twitter Hack” Lie at Least Twice Before, It's Less About What Steve Scully Tweeted, and More About the Fact That He Lied About It. Denise Williams collected $1.75 million from her husband's three life insurance policies after she had him declared dead six months after he supposedly vanished in December 2000 during a solo-duck hunting trip on Lake Seminole in Jackson County. A DNA match to Cheryl confirmed that they were indeed Mike’s remains. Assistant State Attorney Jon Fuchs had no comment on the total dollar figure, though Cheryl Williams said it was about $1.4 million. Since her conviction, Denise has been serving her life sentence at the Florida Women’s Reception Center. Various theories about what happened abounded. By 2008, law enforcement began to suspect foul play. Had it not been for an intuitive mom who suspected foul play after her son's disappearance in 2000, people would still be convinced that Mike Williams actually drowned and got eaten by alligators. After Denise’s conviction, Cheryl said she hopes to one day reconcile with Anslee. However, he never returned. One such case is the murder of Mike Williams. Since it wouldn’t look like an accident at that point, Winchester buried Mike’s body where it would be found 17 years later. Winchester allegedly killed Mike with a shotgun. Cheryl and her other son, Nick, had Mike’s remains buried in Roselawn Cemetery after a funeral service on September 8, 2018. "It's a burden lifted," she said. If I had not done what I did for 17 years, Mike’s disappearance never would have been solved. In a shocking twist of events, in 2018 (and on his daughter's 19th birthday), Mike Williams' wife, Denise Williams-Winchester, was arrested on charges of first-degree murder, fraud, conspiracy, and accessory after the fact. However, Winchester didn't follow through with killing his ex-wife, Kathy. She worked to reopen his investigation, including writing letters to the governor. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began a search and rescue mission, believing that Mike had fallen overboard. However, none of the items found showed any evidence supporting the alligator theory. That's all I can do for Anslee is love her, and I do love her.". Denise Williams, who is serving a life prison sentence for the murder of her husband Mike Williams, will not face additional insurance fraud charges or pay restitution to the state. Winchester, who was in prison at the time, was charged as well. It was speculated that alligators in the lake had dismembered and eaten Mike’s body. He then made it seem like he wasn’t with Mike and had only learned of his disappearance later. He is expected to be released in 2036. Per the Washington Post, Williams went out duck hunting at Lake Seminole the morning of December 16, 2000, which also happened to be his and Denise’s sixth wedding anniversary. What happened to Denise Williams and where is she now? Cheryl Williams refused to believe her son had drowned and alligators ate his body in entirety. This resulted in a pretty intense murder trial, where Winchester eventually spilled the beans about what really happened. Some items like Mike’s hunting license were also recovered. Also Read: [With CCTV Footages] George Powell Case in Netflix’s “Exhibit A”, Is he Innocent? Denise Williams was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for her role in the murder of her husband and Cheryl Willliams' son, Mike Williams. Her ex-husband and Mike Williams' best friend, Brian Winchester, was also charged, although he was already in prison at the time. Her trial for Mike’s murder began in December 2018. In a shocking twist of events, in 2018 (and on his daughter's 19th birthday), Mike Williams' wife, Denise Williams-Winchester, was arrested on charges of first-degree …