Police: Ax-attack suspect was paying younger woman

(Photo by John Cook)
William R. Williams, accused of striking his wife in the head with an ax in their home on May 26, walks toward the defendant’s table in Tuscola County District Court in Caro on Monday. Williams, 59, of Indianfields Township, was bound over to circuit court after District Judge Kim David Glaspie found probable cause that Williams committed six crimes Williams is accused of by prosecutors.

Police said a 59-year-old Tuscola County man admitted he “whacked” his 57-year-old wife in the head with an ax after the couple argued about his payments of money to another woman.

“He related that he and his wife … became involved in an argument over a female, because he had been giving this female money,” testified Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Hook, of the Michigan State Police post at Caro, during Monday’s preliminary exam for William R. Williams, accused of assault with intent to murder, and five other crimes.

Tuscola County Circuit Judge Kim David Glaspie ordered Williams bound over to Tuscola County Circuit Court after finding probable cause that Williams committed the crimes at Williams’ home at 1850 Mertz Road (M-24) in Tuscola County’s Indianfields Township on May 26.

No trial date has been set.

Hook said he interviewed the woman Williams reported providing money to, and after Monday’s preliminary exam, Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark E. Reene told The Advertiser the 31-year-old woman lives in Michigan but not in Tuscola County.

Reene said the younger woman wasn’t a relative of the Williams family, adding that William R. Williams’ connection with the woman “was not an altruistic situation.” When asked if Williams maintained a romantic relationship with the younger female, Reene declined comment.

When asked about Williams’ wife’s current condition and whether she can converse with investigators, Reene said only that “She’s continuing in long-term care.”

Williams, wearing an orange shirt and orange pants, and orange sandals — all issued by the Tuscola County Jail — didn’t testify at the hearing. He remained stoic in court, intently eyeing the three witnesses — all state police officers — who testified at the hearing. Williams sat with metal cuffs around each wrist, with each cuff connected by chains to a chain around his waist.

If convicted of the most serious charge — assault with intent to murder — he faces a maximum sentence of life or any number of years in prison.

Police said Williams worked for Palace Sports & Entertainment, at Meadow Brook Amphitheatre in Rochester Hills. Hook testified Williams told officers he “whacked” his wife about 3 a.m. May 26 with the ax blade of a “splitting maul,” described by officers as part-sledgehammer, part-ax.

Hook said Williams told officers that in the hours following the attack, Williams went to work and gave money to the younger woman that day.

Hook testified that he observed state police Detective Sgt. Tiffany Franzosi-Watson interview Williams in the days following the ax attack, and that Williams then admitted arguing with his wife about his payments to the younger woman.

But Hook said he also questioned Williams, who provided a different account to Hook about the origin of the fight between the husband and wife.

Hook testified that Williams indicated to Hook that he was sleeping in a separate bedroom from his wife, and the early-morning bickering began “because his wife’s television set in the bedroom was too loud, and she said something along the lines of ‘I’ll take this ax to you.’”

“Did he also state that his wife was the one who brought the ax into (her) bedroom?” defense attorney Gregory H. Bringard, of Caro, asked Hook when cross-examining the detective.

Reene objected to the question and the judge sustained the objection, so Hook didn’t answer it.

Later in his testimony, Hook said Williams had “made the statement that (his wife) brought (the ax) into the bedroom, but he didn’t know why.” Upon further questioning by Reene, Hook said Williams didn’t indicate that his wife had ever held the ax in her hands.

Hook said Williams reported striking the victim with the ax blade about 3 a.m., and that Williams then exited the couple’s home to stay inside his vehicle for a period of time.

“Then he went in and made coffee and took a shower, and went to work,” Hook said.

Reene has said Williams staged the crime scene at the couple’s home “in such a manner to make it look like it was a home invasion.”

State Police Trooper Travis Hatfield, who also testified Monday, said that as he walked into the home with several other officers on May 26, one pointed out to him that there was a crowbar near the home’s back door.

Hatfield testified he found the splitting maul on top of the blanket that covered the woman, with the maul positioned next to her. Hatfield said that after officers pulled the blanket away from the woman’s head, “she looked at me, and she kind of moaned and then she rolled back over.”

The wife suffered a skull fracture in the attack, Reene said. Hook said he visited the woman in a Lapeer hospital several days after the incident.

“When I tried to speak with her, I didn’t get any response,” said Hook, indicating he observed a “fairly large laceration” on one side of her head.

Police said they found Williams sitting outside the home on a portable cooler, talking on the phone, when they arrived at the scene late on the afternoon of May 26. Reene said Williams made no attempt to help his wife before leaving for work earlier that morning after the ax attack.

“He left her laying there for 14 hours until he returned, when he decided it was an appropriate time to fabricate (a report of) a home invasion …” Reene said.

Williams remains in the Tuscola County Jail in lieu of posting a $500,000 cash bond.

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