Texas woman sentenced to 60 years in 'black widow' murder case

Michele Williams is pictured in Fort Worth, Texas in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tarrant County DA/Handout via Reuters
By Marice Richter

By Marice Richter FORT WORTH Texas (Reuters) - A Texas woman dubbed a "black widow" was sentenced on Tuesday to 60 years in prison after her conviction on murder and evidence tampering in the shooting death of her husband in what prosecutors said was a plot to collect insurance money. Michele Williams, 45, was sentenced to concurrent sentences of 60 years in prison on her murder conviction and 10 years for evidence tampering. She had been accused of cleaning and moving a .45-caliber handgun used in the October 2011 shooting. Williams, who prosecutors say tried to frame someone else for the killing, faced up to life in prison. Jurors in Tarrant County returned a guilty verdict on Monday and returned their decision on a sentence on Tuesday. Prosecutors portrayed Williams as a greedy, habitual liar who stood to collect $650,000 in insurance money in the shooting of her husband, Greg Williams, while he slept at the family's home in a Fort Worth suburb. Prosecutors said Williams first contacted police to report that an intruder dressed in black had broken into the home and shot her husband to death, and then later recanted and said he had committed suicide. "This circumstantial evidence case involved convoluted facts, strange twists and turns, and complicated questions of law," Deputy Chief District Attorney Jack Strickland said in a statement. Williams lawyers said in closing arguments that Greg Williams had committed suicide because he was depressed due to financial problems and the recent deaths of his best friend and his grandmother. She had lied about an intruder to shield her daughter from the truth, her attorneys said. Before the trial, Williams had entered a guilty plea for a reduced charge of deadly conduct and tampering with evidence. Just before she was due to be sentenced to 18 years in prison, she withdrew her plea and told the judge that she was innocent. (Reporting by Marice Richter; Editing by Sandra Maler)