WAPAKONETA — Erin Mulcahy, the 35-year-old woman whose lifeless body was discovered in a running shower at a Waynesfield apartment nearly two years ago, was described in court Tuesday as a long-suffering alcoholic who was prone to seizures for often failing to take medication intended to curb such medical reactions.
A toxicologist from the Lucas County Coroner’s Office testified that while the woman had no alcohol in her blood at the time of her death, minor amounts of diazepam — once marketed as Valium — were present in blood samples taken from the deceased woman. Dr. Robert Forney said diazepam is commonly used to treat anxiety and is often used by patients who are known to be at risk of seizures.
Testimony resumed Tuesday in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court in the trial of Brent Williams, charged with murder in the death of his estranged wife. Among the testimony were statements that Mulcahy had been suffering from the affects of alcohol abuse for nearly 12 years and had in the months before her death made numerous hospital visits related to alcoholism and had made at least one threat to take her own life.
Mulcahy’s body was discovered July 8, 2017, in the Waynesfield apartment. A report from the Auglaize County Coroner’s Office said the woman had been lying in the shower for up to three days before being discovered. The cause of death was listed as strangulation.
Steve Steinecker, an investigator for the coroner’s office, testified that after a meeting with the Lucas County coroner following an autopsy of Mulcahy’s body on July 10, it was the consensus among investigators that “some type of asphyxiate was involved” in the woman’s death.
Testimony revealed that Williams and Mulcahy were involved in an on-again, off-again relationship that reportedly had soured in the weeks and months leading up to the woman’s death. Williams had moved out of the apartment they shared in Waynesfield and had initiated divorce proceedings.
In a body cam video taken by Waynesfield Police Chief Nathan Motter hours after Mulcahy’s body was discovered, Williams said he had last seen his wife six days before her body was found.
The defendant said he entered the apartment on July 6 to retrieve some personal items and at that time heard the shower running. He told Motter he left the apartment without making contact with his estranged wife.
Williams, in a taped telephone conversation with Auglaize County Chief Deputy Mike Peterson that was played in court on Tuesday, said he could have saved the life of his estranged wife after she suffered what he believed to be yet another seizure.
“I was not around when this happened. If I had been there I would have saved her life,” Williams said through tears in the July 11, 2017, phone conversation with Peterson. “She was trying to stop drinking. She wanted me back. If I had been there I would have got her on her side when she had that seizure.
“Everybody knew she had a drinking problem. Her body just couldn’t take it any more,” Williams told Peterson.
Motter testified he had interacted with Mulcahy on three occasions prior to her death, all in his capacity as chief of police. He said he had never seen the woman when she wasn’t intoxicated, and testified that he once ordered her transported to a Lima hospital after she made suicidal threats.
Various police investigators testified that a search of the apartment following the discovery of Mulcahy’s body revealed no sign of alcoholic beverages and further showed no signs that a physical struggle had taken place there.
A third day of testimony in the trial will resume Wednesday morning. In the absence of a jury, visiting judge Mark O’Connor will decide Williams’ fate when testimony is completed.