Family questions accused murderer Michele Williams’ role in suspicious death of her brother-in-law
Editor’s note:Michele Williams is nearing trial for the murder of her husband, Greg Williams. But that’s not the only mysterious death the so-called Keller black widow is connected to. A CultureMap investigation has revealed serious questions surrounding the 2010 death of Brynn Fletcher, Michele’s brother-in-law. Adding to the confusion of the case is the fact that Michele Williams shares the same first name as the victim’s wife, Michelle Fletcher.
I t’s almost 5 pm, and Michelle Fletcher hasn’t heard from her husband, Brynn, all day. He left their Terrell house at 6:30 am on a business trip to Waco with GW Solutions. When he hadn’t arrived at the location by 10, his boss and Michelle’s brother, Greg Williams, grew concerned. For hours, many people tried to get in touch with Brynn.
But, as the saying goes, dead men tell no tales.
Michelle Fletcher says the days leading up to her husband’s disappearance and death were unremarkable, if not jolly. It was late December 2010, and the couple was looking forward to the Christmas holidays. The morning before he died, Michelle sent Brynn off with a tin of blueberry muffins.
“We said goodbye and that we loved each other. I never imagined it would be the last time I’d ever see my husband.”
“I don’t believe my husband killed himself. I believe this case is related to my brother’s case,” Michelle Fletcher says.
Coworker Steve McSwain also recalls Brynn’s final days fondly. “The last time I talked to Brynn, he sounded pretty peppy. He was talking about how he’d gotten the perfect Christmas presents for their kids, and he couldn’t wait to give them to them.”
According to the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, Brynn died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside his work truck. His body was found at 4:35 pm on December 20 off Highway 34 in Ennis.
Police responded to the location because a caller reported a suspicious vehicle had been parked on the side of the road all day.
Michele Williams steered the investigation toward suicide immediately, informing police that Brynn had previously tried to kill himself by ingesting pills — an account his wife disputes.
In the official police reports about Brynn’s death, Michele Williams, his sister-in-law — not Michelle Fletcher, his wife — is recorded as the best contact for information about the investigation.
“Dispatch advised that she was the one talking to them because the wife has been hysterical from him missing all day,” the report reads.
Key facts disputed
Michelle Fletcher insists she never gave permission for Michele Williams to assume the role of next of kin with police. Perhaps due to the confusion of sharing the same first name, much of the information attributed to Michelle Fletcher appears to have actually come from Michele Williams.
Michelle Fletcher vehemently disputes key details accepted as gospel by police, including the idea that Brynn was suicidal and that it was unusual for him to carry a gun.
“He always carried his gun when he was going out of town, and anybody who knew him would’ve known that,” she says.
As far as Brynn’s so-called suicide attempt, Michelle Fletcher says no one knows exactly what happened that day in 2007. Michele Williams says she found him slumped over the wheel of his car in a Walmart parking lot and that bottles of Xanax and Tylenol were found nearby.
When she and husband Greg approached the car, Brynn opened the door, and the couple called an ambulance. When doctors pumped Brynn’s stomach, the only substance in his system was Xanax, which is not lethal when taken alone.
Michelle Fletcher says during that time her husband was working 16-hour days at a Dallas bondage club started by her brother and sister-in-law. She believes Brynn could have taken Xanax simply to relax and deal with stress.
“Brynn would pull off on the side of the road to take naps on occasion,” she says. “If he wanted to kill himself, why did he pull up in the Walmart parking lot right by my brother’s house? I thought it was a cry for help, like he was trying to tell my brother that he was overworked and needed a break.”
Besides Michele Williams, the only other person who witnessed Brynn’s alleged suicide attempt was Greg Williams. He too would later die of a single gunshot wound to the head inflicted with his own gun. His death, which Michele once reported to the police as suicide, is now believed to be homicide. Michele’s trial for first-degree murder and tampering with evidence is slated for September in Tarrant County.
Long before her husband and brother died under mysterious circumstances, Michelle Fletcher had misgivings about Michele Williams, Greg’s third wife.
“The first time I met Michele Williams, I felt the presence of evil,” Fletcher says. “There was something just not right about her.”
Other than their first name, the only thing the sisters-in-law had in common was Greg. Their relationship was rocky, and Fletcher says Williams tried her best to drive a wedge between the siblings.
“She’d do little things to make me look bad in front of my brother,” Fletcher says. “I’d be at the house helping out with things, and she’d give me instructions that were the opposite of how my brother actually wanted it done. Then she’d turn it around so I looked like the screw-up.”
Greg’s younger brother, Michael Williams, remembers being confused as to why Greg was involved with someone like Michele. “I saw her as a gold digger, but I guess he wanted some excitement in his life,” Michael says.
Greg Williams’ death and Michele Williams’ ensuing bizarre behavior only served to confirm the siblings' initial impressions of their sister-in-law. Michele Williams told police a variety of stories before admitting to cleaning the crime scene with bleach and staging a home invasion to cover-up Greg’s alleged suicide. She would later recant that testimony and request a jury trial.
With Michele Williams’ credibility in question, Michelle Fletcher believes Brynn’s death deserves a second look. “I don't believe my husband killed himself. I believe this case is related to my brother’s case,” Fletcher says.
Wall of silence
Brynn Fletcher’s case isn’t just closed; it’s under lock and key. Despite ruling his death a suicide one week after his body was found, the police have never released Brynn’s gun or photos of the incident to his wife.
Although the deaths of Greg Williams and Brynn Fletcher have never been officially connected, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office did find the case significant enough to look into.
Despite ruling his death a suicide one week after his body was found, the police have never released Brynn Fletcher’s gun or photos of the incident to his wife.
Michelle Fletcher says a DA investigator examined the gun after Michele Williams was indicted in Greg Williams’ death. According to Fletcher, the investigator said he needed to rule out the gun as a possible murder weapon in that case.
When Fletcher tried to pick up the gun, she says Ellis County told her they needed to keep it "in case anything ever came up that made them believe it wasn't suicide and was actually a murder, [then] they would need to have the gun for evidence."
Citing Michele Williams’ pending murder trial, the Tarrant County DA’s Office declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding Brynn Fletcher’s death or what role, if any, their office has played in the case. One of Michele Williams’ attorneys, Cody Cofer, also declined to comment for this story.
Michelle Fletcher says a Tarrant County DA investigator scoffed at the idea that Michele Williams could have committed another murder before Greg.
“I told them I strongly believed after my brother’s death that she’d done something like this before,” Fletcher says. “They laughed it off.”
Michael Williams doesn't find any humor in the situation. “Maybe if the police had done their job the first time, my brother would still be alive,” he says.
Through the Public Information Act, CultureMap requested copies of the photos taken by Ellis County authorities that documented Brynn Fletcher’s death scene. On June 13, the Texas Attorney General ruled against their release. Because no crime was believed to have been committed, the AG’s office said it was up to the discretion of Ellis County to decide what to do with the photos.
“We have determined your request does not present a novel or complex issue,” a form letter from the Texas Attorney General’s Office reads.
Michelle Fletcher is baffled by the idea that the circumstances surrounding her husband’s death are routine.
“Ten months after my husband is shot in the head with his own gun, so is my brother. And that’s just supposed to be a coincidence?”
Ann Montgomery-Moran with the Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office couldn’t say when authorities realized Michele Williams was under indictment for the murder of her husband.
“I am aware of that now and I have made the sheriff’s office aware of that also,” Montgomery-Moran says.
When asked if Brynn Fletcher’s case had ever been revisited after learning that the chief point of contact faced charges for murder and tampering with evidence, the assistant county and district attorney was at a loss.
“Ma’am, I can’t answer these questions,” she says. “I really don’t know who you would refer your calls to.”
The 19-page police file on Brynn Fletcher’s death offers more questions than answers about the basic facts of the case, such as the location of the gunshot wound. One report says right eye; another says mouth. The medical examiner says Brynn was shot in the center of his forehead.
The final police report pronouncing “case closed” says Brynn used his right hand to shoot himself in the right eye. But Brynn was left-handed.
“She had my husband cremated so fast, the ink hadn’t even dried on his autopsy report,” Michelle Fletcher says.
“After he died, I questioned it and questioned it,” Michelle Fletcher says. “I’m not unable to accept that my husband committed suicide. I’ve just never seen any evidence that proves that is what happened. The more the police push back and refuse to talk to me or show me any photos of how he died, the more suspicious I get.
“I was his wife. Don’t I have any rights at all?”
Not according to the Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office.
“Because the photos were confidential in my opinion, according to the law that was changed last legislative session, we will not be releasing them to anyone,” Montgomery-Moran says.
The law in question went into effect in September 2013 — nearly three years after Michelle Fletcher first started asking to see the photos of how her husband died.
Texas Law Section 552.1085: Confidentiality of Sensitive Crime Scene Images chiefly deals with first obtaining permission of the next of kin before releasing photos of the deceased to any public or private entity. Montgomery-Moran says Ellis County and district attorney Patrick Wilson takes a harder line.
“We will not release those types of photos on any case,” Montgomery-Moran says. When pressed, she said the office’s policy of secrecy for crime (and non-crime) photos had always been in place. “We have never released any photos of a deceased person’s body.”
But the photos of Brynn’s body are all Michelle Fletcher has left of her husband. The vehicle where he died, a white Ford Ranger, was totaled by insurance after the shooting. Michele Williams arranged to have Brynn’s body cremated the day after the medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.
Michelle Fletcher says she was in shock over the unexpected death of her husband, so she didn’t find it strange at first that Michele Williams was the one who drew up all the paperwork for her husband’s funeral. “She just kept handing me things, saying, ‘Here, sign this.’ I thought she was so helpful through the whole thing.”
That gratefulness quickly disappeared when Fletcher realized she’d signed a document expediting the disposal of Brynn’s body. “She had my husband cremated so fast, the ink hadn't even dried on his autopsy report.”
Michael Williams says his family felt conflicted about investigating Brynn's death.
“A large part of me wanted my sister just to move on, but she is pretty smart, and people don't always give her credit for that. I started to see there was a reason why she wouldn't let it go,” he says.
“Brynn always had my sister's feelings in mind. To not even leave a note? That never made sense to me. If he was going to kill himself, he wouldn't have left Michelle in the dark like that.”
Although authorities refused to release photos of Brynn’s death, CultureMap’s investigation revealed that Steve McSwain took pictures when he went to retrieve company property from the vehicle the day Brynn died. [Editor’s note: Due to the graphic nature of the photos, we chose to publish the only photo without visible blood.]
McSwain was the first person to have access to the truck besides the police and Miller’s Towing in Ennis. At this point, Brynn’s body had already been removed, but no one is believed to have cleaned the truck. In fact, a police report details a conversation between investigator Glen Smith and Michele Williams about the truck’s condition.
“If you put a gun to your head and shoot it, there’s going to be stuff everywhere,” Steve McSwain says. “I swear there wasn’t anything like that.”
“I explained that they would probably need to arrange to have the vehicle cleaned since it was in bad condition at the time,” Smith wrote in his report.
The photos provided by McSwain depict an odd death scene, especially for someone purported to have been shot in the head with a .357 Ruger Magnum.
Blood is pooled on the floorboard of the driver’s seat. The headrest, dashboard and windshield appear undisturbed. A small reddish stain can be seen on the outside of the truck’s white hood. Otherwise, the car appears in perfect condition.
“You’d have thought there’d be a bigger mess than what I saw,” McSwain says.
The photos Michelle Fletcher has waited almost four years for did not provide her any comfort or closure. She says she is now more convinced than ever that her husband didn’t commit suicide in that truck.
“Brynn was 6-foot-2. To shoot himself in any kind of position with the steering wheel right there would have been extremely difficult. I’ve fired that gun, and it had a lot of kick back. Once he went lifeless, where’d the gun go?’
According to police reports, it rested neatly on Brynn’s chest.
“The victim was clutching a revolver type handgun with both hands and they were kind of resting on his chest area. It appeared as if he shot himself through the mouth exiting out the top/back of his skull,” Smith wrote.
That description doesn’t match with McSwain’s photos.
“From what I understand, if you put a gun to your head and shoot it, there’s going to be stuff everywhere,” McSwain says. “I swear there wasn’t anything like that on the back of the cab or ceiling.”
Michelle Fletcher is also disturbed by the presence of a gray, blood-spattered pillow in the driver’s seat. She says she never knew Brynn to use a pillow while driving. “I’ve never seen that pillow before in my life.”
In the days and weeks following Brynn’s death, Michelle Fletcher says she found Michele Williams’ behavior to be extremely odd. In addition to taking point in dealing with the police, Williams would frequently feign tears.
“She’d just go into hysterics and act like she was totally broken up about Brynn,” Fletcher says. “It looked like the exact same crocodile tears she later cried for my brother.”
Fletcher says Williams really piqued her interest when she offered to lead a family caravan to the site where Brynn died. At this point, Fletcher says, the only information police had provided about the scene of Brynn’s death was that it was “about a mile before you get to the Trinity River on Highway 34.” But Williams seemed to know a bit more than that.
“She drove to nearly the exact same spot that two years later police would tell me his truck was parked,” Fletcher says. “It’s unbelievable that she would know that.”
Fletcher has driven out to that Ennis road half a dozen times since 2010. She has studied the area and is particularly interested in the nearby watchtower. “It looks like a meeting place, somewhere someone could have told him to pull over,” she says.
Brynn, a native of England, was not familiar with Texas backcountry roads. Fletcher says Michele Williams usually programmed his GPS and provided his work routes. The night before Brynn died, he was at Greg and Michele Williams’ house, getting final instructions for his business trip to Waco.
Fletcher says Brynn left their home in Terrell at 6:30 am. A passerby reported seeing his truck parked in front of the Ennis watchtower off Highway 34 at 9 am. The trip would have taken Brynn no more than an hour. Assuming the caller’s timeline is accurate, something delayed Brynn along the way.
“I strongly believe someone got in on the passenger side of the truck,” Fletcher says. “I know Brynn and the only way it could have happened was if it was someone he knew and trusted.”
Michele Williams' brother and sister-in-law, Mark and Jamie Mason (names changed by request), also have suspicions about Michele's involvement in Brynn's death. "Knowing what I know now, Michele's actions on the day that Brynn died were very strange," Mark says.
Mark and Jamie say that Michele called them "about seven or eight times" on December 20, 2010. With each call, she grew increasingly concerned about Brynn's whereabouts.
Because the Masons had met Brynn only once or twice, they thought it was odd for Michele to call them about his disappearance. "I didn't understand why she was so worried. He was a grown man," Mark says.
"In hindsight, it's almost like she was setting up her story. She told us several times that Brynn was suicidal."
Jamie also recalls that Michele made a point of stating that she was shopping at Target when she called, a detail Jamie believes could have been inserted to establish Michele’s alibi for when Brynn died. "I remember thinking it was not normal behavior. For four years, I have thought it was suspicious."
Despite their relationship with Michele and knowledge of her actions the day Brynn died, the police have never contacted the Masons. “You are the first person who has talked to us about Brynn's death, or even Greg's death,” Jamie says.
"We were with Greg and Michele all the time, and nobody bothered to ask us anything. If the police don't want to know what we know, I guess that's their prerogative."
Michelle Fletcher says nothing stood out as unusual in her husband’s behavior the day he supposedly committed suicide. Brynn even appeared to be planning for the future. He’d recently undergone expensive dental work and had purchased new prescription glasses.
“Everything was fine when he walked out the door that morning,” she says.
But there was some turmoil in his life, and it had to do with Michele Williams.
Michele had accused Greg Williams’ daughter from a previous marriage, Taylor, of drugging several members of the family. According to Michele, 12-year-old Taylor had slipped drugs in her stepmother’s coffee and had tried to poison Greg and Michele’s young daughter, Makayla.
In late 2010, Michele spent two days at Baylor Grapevine hospital for benzodiazepine opiate ingestion, and Greg sent Taylor to a drug rehab facility. There was never any evidence that Taylor was responsible for Michele’s overdose on antidepressants and narcotics.
“The last few days of Brynn’s life, we were trying to figure out how Taylor could have gotten ahold of drugs,” Michelle Fletcher says.
Brynn often worked out of Greg and Michele’s home, and many people believe it was possible that Brynn had learned something unsavory about his sister-in-law and planned to share it with Greg.
“I’ve racked my brain trying to figure it out. There’s nothing that gave me any inkling that something was wrong,” McSwain says.
“Brynn and Greg were so close. If there was anything that Brynn had known or found out about Michele, he would have told Greg,” Steve McSwain says.
Mark and Jamie Mason also suggested that Michele Williams could have had motivation to silence Brynn.
"When you factor in that, at the time, Michele was fake poisoning herself and blaming Taylor, it gets very suspicious because Brynn was always around the house," Mark says. "Who knows what Brynn might have seen or known that Michele was doing?"
Michelle Fletcher believes her husband did leave clues that he had information on Michele Williams. Fletcher says her husband never ordinarily took photos with his cellphone. “He used a phone for a phone and that was it.”
But in the days leading up to his death, Brynn took photos of two people: Michele and Makayla Williams. Michelle Fletcher found the photos when police returned some of Brynn’s personal effects, including his cellphone.
“I felt like he was trying to tell me something with those photos,” Fletcher says, adding that Michele wasn’t looking at the camera and didn’t appear to know her picture was being taken.
After years of no action on Brynn’s case, Fletcher says she gave his phone away to a friend who needed one. She didn’t make a copy of the photos. “I’m kicking myself over that one,” she says.
McSwain recalls Michele Williams tried to rationalize Brynn’s suicide by connecting it to the fact that Greg Williams had yelled at him the night before. Greg was really upset over a client’s complaint about work Brynn and McSwain had completed at Signal Metal in Irving.
“He basically chewed us out pretty badly,” McSwain says.
The tongue-lashing was so severe that McSwain was considering quitting his job. But he doesn’t recall Brynn’s getting as upset about it. “I’ve racked my brain trying to figure it out. There’s nothing that gave me any inkling that something was wrong. In all our conversations, he was glad to be working there,” McSwain says.
Michele Williams, however, planted the idea that Greg’s criticism had pushed Brynn over the edge.
“I never heard Greg say it directly, but Michele always said that Greg was really shook up about Brynn’s death because he thought he caused it,” McSwain recalls.
McSwain, who once believed there was no way Michele Williams could have had anything to do with Greg’s death, is slowly starting to wonder what else Michele could have lied about.
“Everything that was accepted is all in question now. She definitely fooled everyone,” McSwain says.
Jamie Mason, who has known Michele Williams since childhood, expressed disappointment in the investigation of Brynn's death.
"They shouldn't have taken Michele's word for everything. They should have had a little doubt," she says. "Ninety-five percent of what Michele says is a lie, and the other 5 percent is questionable."
Jamie Mason has her own theory on what could have led to Brynn's death on a rural road in Ennis. "I wouldn’t doubt if Michele drove down there, faked car trouble, shot him in the head and then drove back home," she says.
"That’s what I imagined she did, played the damsel in distress as always and asked Brynn to come rescue her."
Fletcher says that when her brother Greg was murdered 10 months after Brynn died, that investigation took center stage. But she never stopped believing that Michele Williams had something to do with both deaths.
“Two of the most important people in my life were my older brother and my husband,” Fletcher says. “It didn’t really hurt her to lose either one of them. She just kept on going.”
Like Brynn, Greg was cremated in short order after dying of a single gunshot wound to the head.
Not long after her husband was turned to ashes, Michele Williams began dating her son’s best friend, a young body builder named Gene Wallis. She is believed to have faked a high-risk pregnancy with twins in an emotional ploy for delayed sentencing and a favorable plea deal, which she sabotaged after her pregnancy allegedly ended in a miscarriage.
Now that Michele Williams has been exposed as a manipulator capable of murder, Michelle Fletcher hopes Ellis County will reopen the investigation into her husband’s death.
"I’ve been at this for almost four years, and all I have is their police reports filled with information from Michele Williams that doesn’t make any sense," Fletcher says. "I still can’t get them to show me one piece of evidence that says my husband committed suicide."
Correction: An earlier version of this article included references to the Ennis Police Department as well as the Ellis County Sheriff's Office. In fact, the sheriff's office was the only law enforcement entity that investigated the death of Brynn Fletcher.