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Williams Trial Day 2: Confessed Shooter Winchester Outlines Motive, Affairs

Brian Winchester
Leon County Jail

Brian Winchester says Denise Williams told him they would be like “David and Bathsheba” and that the killing of her husband Mike Williams 18 years ago would be kept a secret. Wednesday saw further testimony and cross examination of Winchester, who confessed to killing Mike Williams in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Winchester says Denise Williams did not know he shot Mike Williams, though the two of them had been discussing and planning the murder. 

"I tried to tell her about it one day and she didn’t want to know the details," Winchester testified Wednesday. "She told me she assumed that when his body was never found that what we’d planned did not happen. And that it never made sense to her that I was able to get to the shoreline but he didn’t. But that it was okay, that we were forgiven, and we were like David and Bathsheba and God was going to forgive us.”

It’s the second day of testimony in Denise Williams’s murder trial. Winchester married Williams five years after he says he killed Mike Williams at Lake Seminole at her behest and made it look like a hunting accident. He also outlined exactly what happened that day at the lake when he pushed Mike Williams overboard and Williams did not drown.

"When that happened, he was in front of me to the right and I took the boat to the left of him and when I got to where I felt like I needed to and before he could grab onto the boat, I shot him," Winchester said.

Both Winchester and Denise Williams were having an affair with each other and married to other people at the time of the murder and at one point, briefly considered murdering Winchester's then-wife Kathy as well. But Winchester refused that idea. The jury was shown sexually explicit photos of Winchester, Denise Williams and Kathy in Panama City from around that time.

Winchester and Williams would marry each other five years after Mike Williams's disappearance, but their relationship began to unravel and in 2016, Winchester was arrested for the armed kidnapping of Denise. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2017 and in October of that year, confessed to murdering Mike Williams in exchange for immunity from prosecution. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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