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Interrogation video shows Michele Williams repeatedly denied husband's suicide
Michele Williams’ interrogation video took center stage on the second day of her Tarrant County murder trial. Michele, 45, is accused of shooting and killing her husband, Greg Williams, and cleaning the crime scene with bleach.
Although she has offered varying theories on what happened that night, her official defense at trial is that Greg committed suicide.
In the hours after Greg was killed, Michele was taken to the Keller police station for questioning, where detectives began to pick away at her first story involving a deadly home invasion. The interrogation started around 6:40 am and would last more than five hours.
“I called out to Greg,” Michele said. “I grabbed his hand, and I felt blood running down the bed.”
In pretrial motions, Michele’s defense attorneys tried unsuccessfully to exclude her interrogation video and written statement confessing to cleaning the crime scene. She was not read her Miranda rights for hours, and repeated questions about an attorney were ignored.
In the beginning of her police interview, Michele was eager to talk. “At what point do I get to answer questions about Greg?” Michele asked five minutes after entering the holding room.
Detective John McGrew collected physical evidence from Michele, who he says at that point wasn’t under investigation for her husband’s murder. “She was a victim and a witness, and that’s why I wanted to interview her,” McGrew said during testimony on September 23.
Michele chatted easily with a female officer assigned to assist with the questioning. “It’s my job to take care of you,” officer Bethany Todd said. “You are doing a good job,” Michele replied with a weak smile.
Detective McGrew swabbed Michele’s hands for gunshot residue and brought her a change of clothes in order to run tests on what she was wearing at the time of Greg’s death. McGrew then snapped a few photos of Michele’s face, where the alleged intruder reportedly hit her with a wrench, and left the room so Michele could change. With both officers out of the room, Michele put her head in her hands and cried.
“You have to be honest with me,” the detective said. “What you are telling me is not matching up with the scene.”
The detective told Michele the details didn’t add up. Greg had been shot in the head with his own gun while lying in bed. The .45-caliber gun purportedly used by an intruder was found near the back door next to a wrench. Both weapons were clean of fingerprints, and there was no sign of an intruder.
Michele told police she and Greg had been up late looking over documents for their new, custom-built house in Keller. In fact, the couple was supposed to sign the closing papers on their dream home the very next day. Around 1 am, Michele said Greg took three Tylenol PMs to help him sleep, and the couple fired up Netflix in bed.
Shortly after that, Michele drifted off to sleep. At some point, Michele said she got up to comfort their 4-year-old daughter and lay down on the couch with her in the living room. Sometime after 4 am, Michele was awakened.
“I heard a noise,” she said. “I opened the bedroom door, and I got hit by something. I still don’t know what. Everything is fuzzy.”
Michele claimed a black-clad intruder “with a thick country accent” smacked her in the head before shooting Greg in the right temple and fleeing out the back door.
“I was knocked out,” Michele said. “When I came to, I could see movement. I heard something that I did not realize was a gunshot at that moment, and he ran out the back door.”
“My husband is dead, and I am being blamed for it!” Michele Williams said.
“What happened after you heard the gunshot?” McGrew asked.
“I called out to Greg,” Michele said. “I crawled over there. I grabbed his hand, and I felt blood running down the bed.”
Then, Michele made a hysterical 911 call during which she told virtually the same account of events that she would later relay to Keller police. An intruder had shot her husband and hit her in the head, knocking her unconscious.
Back in the interrogation room, detective McGrew left Michele alone with officer Todd. “Greg would tell me not to be even talking without a lawyer,” Michele said. “He does not trust anyone.”
“Some people are just like that,” Todd replied nonchalantly.
Greg had been pronounced dead at the scene, but McGrew went through an hour of questioning before revealing the fatality to Michele. “There’s not much I can say in this. Greg is deceased.”
Upon hearing the news, Michele began to squeal and cry. McGrew gave her some space at first, but then he started picking apart her version of events. “You have to be honest with me,” he said. “What you are telling me is not matching up with the scene.”
When the detective asked Michele if she cleaned anything after Greg was shot, she screamed, “I need a lawyer, obviously! My husband is dead and I am being blamed for it!”
“He did not shoot himself,” Michele said before attempting to get the detective back on the intruder theory. “What if it was someone who was angry with him?”
But McGrew, who hadn’t yet placed Michele under arrest or read her Miranda rights, interrupted Michele. “Be honest with me because it changes things. Did Greg injure himself and you tried to cover it up?”
Michele repeatedly denied that she’d been involved in Greg’s death or that he had any reason to end his own life. “We went to bed very happy last night,” she said.
But she also said that Greg had plenty of enemies. “Many times he would say he slept with one eye open.”
Unconvinced that anyone else had been in the house, McGrew began to hone in on the idea that Greg committed suicide. He told Michele about a case in which a husband killed himself and the wife cleaned up the scene to collect on a life insurance policy.
Michele again denied that theory. “He did not shoot himself,” she said before attempting to get McGrew back on the intruder theory. “What if it was someone who was angry with him?”
McGrew, undeterred, went back to the suicide theory.
“If there was something that happened that was unintentional or if something happened and you covered it up, please tell me now,” McGrew pleaded. “It’s either self-inflicted and you covered it up or potentially you may be involved.”
Michele stuck to her guns for another hour, repeatedly denying that her husband had killed himself or that she had anything to do with his death.
At 9:45 am, three hours after Michele voluntarily came to the police station for questioning without an attorney present, she told officer Bethany Todd she wanted to leave. Todd began making arrangements for a relative to pick up Michele, but Michele didn’t leave the room.
Twenty minutes later, McGrew came back in the room and once again peppered Michele with questions about the crime scene. After thoroughly debunking the theory of an intruder for the umpteenth time, McGrew laid out what he saw as the only two possibilities leading to Greg’s death. “Either he self inflicted and you tried to cover it up … or you did it yourself.”
“He did it,” Michele said with her head in her hands. She then congratulated McGrew on cracking the case. “I would not have made it through the day,” Michele said. “You won.”
The prosecution expects to rest its case on Thursday, September 25.
New to the story? Catch up on the Michele Williams case here:
October 31, 2013: The making of the Keller black widow: Did Michele Williams get away with murder?
January 30, 2014: Keller black widow Michele Williams lands back in Tarrant County jail
February 10, 2014: Michele Williams rejects plea deal and opts for murder trial in husband's death
March 6, 2014: Keller black widow Michele Williams worked at strip club while out on bond
May 2, 2014: Peter Van Sant dishes on what made Michele Williams case so intriguing to 48 Hours
May 15, 2014: Accused murderess Michele Williams gets bond revoked amid fears she'd skip town
May 28, 2014: Couple offers to help post bond for accused murderer Michele Williams