A woman who suffered life-threatening injuries after an alleged assault Friday was hit in the head with an ax by her husband, Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark Reene alleged.
William Russell Williams, 59, of Caro, was arraigned Tuesday in Tuscola County District Court and charged with six felonies — the most severe being assault with intent to murder.
Officers from the Michigan State Police Caro Post responded to a home invasion with a serious injury complaint in the 1800 block of Mertz Road (M-24) in Indianfields Township, just south of Caro, about 5:15 p.m. on Friday. Upon arrival, officers discovered a 57-year-old woman, Williams’ wife, suffering from a serious head wound.
Reene alleged that Williams struck his wife in the head with an ax about 3 a.m. Friday, went to work and — when he returned home about 5 p.m. — damaged the home to make it look like an intruder had entered it. Williams then called 911 and reported the crime, Reene said.
Williams initially told investigators his home had been invaded and his wife assaulted, according to the prosecutor.
Reene said the victim’s injuries were consistent with being struck with the blade side of a “full-sized, splitting-wall” ax. She was transported by ambulance to a local hospital and remained in critical condition as of Tuesday’s arraignment.
Williams and his wife lived in the home together, Reene added.
“(Williams) staged it in such a manner to make it look like it was a home invasion,” Reene alleged. “And that was what initially had to be worked through by the officers.”
During the arraignment, Reene told Tuscola County Magistrate Joseph Van Auken that before Williams’ arrest Saturday, Williams “did make admissions in regards to his conduct here.”
“It was just tremendous work that was done by the state police,” Reene said. “You start out with (a home invasion and assault) report, the circumstances, a horrific injury and you’re trying to patch this together as quickly as you possibly can. Which they did.
“It was pretty amazing, I just have to keep commenting on it.”
The assault with intent to murder charge carries a possible sentence of life imprisonment, or any number of years. Williams was charged with five other felonies – four counts of lying to a police officer investigating a violent crime and one count of false report of a felony. The latter five charges are four-year felonies.
Williams remains lodged at the Tuscola County Jail. His bond was set at $1 million cash or surety upon arrest Saturday, but lowered to $500,000 cash or surety by Van Auken at Tuesday’s arraignment.
He is scheduled for a probable cause hearing at 8:15 a.m. Monday, June 12 and a preliminary exam at 8:30 a.m. Monday, June 19.
During Tuesday’s arraignment, Williams was asked by Van Auken if he had ever skipped a court date.
“No, I’ve never had to go to court, no,” Williams replied.
When asked by Van Auken if he has ever been diagnosed with a mental illness, Williams said “not yet.”
Williams has no criminal record and said he works for The Palace of Auburn Hills, which has been his employer for 29 years, he added. The Palace was the home of the Detroit Pistons NBA team until it played its final game there last month. The Pistons are moving to downtown Detroit to play at Little Caesars Arena beginning with the 2017-18 NBA season.
No decision has yet been made about what will happen to The Palace.
Williams stated at his arraignment that he has lived in Caro for the past “20 years” and that prior to that he had lived “south of Mayville.”
Williams requested a court-appointed attorney.
During the arraignment, Reene commented on the significance of the crime.
“In regard to the seriousness of this, short of a homicide, we believe it’s as close to that as you can possibly have,” he said. “(Williams) acted in a manner with complete and total depraved indifference towards his wife and her well-being. Again, help only being called after he tried to fabricate a home invasion at his residence.”