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Episode 80: Denise Williams Love Triangle Trial Testimony

On December 16, 2000, hard-working property appraiser Michael Williams, 31, left his home in Tallahassee, Florida, to go duck hunting. He never returned. Investigators concluded he’d drowned in Lake Seminole, and his body had been eaten by alligators. His widow, accountant Denise Williams, who had avoided media attention during the search for her husband, eventually declared him legally dead, and held a memorial. She was later the beneficiary of a large insurance payment.

The man who helped her with the insurance claim was Brian Winchester,an  old high school friend of the couple who had been very close to Mike. Five months after Mike was declared dead, Denise married Brian Winchester, who moved in with Denise and her daughter, Anslee.

Sixteen years later, Denise filed papers for divorce, claiming that her husband was a “sex addict.” Brian threatened suicide, then kidnapped Denise and held her hostage at gunpoint. He was tried for the crime, and sentenced to 20 years–a long time for assault and kidnapping, but not so long for murder. The police had never believed Mike’s death was an accident, and after tough questioning, and as part of a plea deal, Brian confessed that he and Denise had murdered Mike Williams in order to be together and to collect on the insurance. They had, apparently, been lovers since high school. In May 2018, Denise Williams, now 48, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. She was found guilty, and is awaiting sentence.

This episode contains Brian Winchester’s testimony in Denise Williams’s murder trial (Denise did not take the stand). In a clear voice, broken occasionally by moments of emotion, Winchester describes how, eighteen years ago, he murdered his best friend Mike while the pair were out duck hunting. Williams has resolved to tell the absolute truth, and the his story is powerful and gripping, a daylight horror story reminiscent of Double Indemnity.

Listen to the episode here.