WAPAKONETA — The conclusion of the murder trial of Waynesfield resident Brent Williams was mere seconds away. All that was needed was a few strokes of a pen to conclude a plea deal that was placed on the table by prosecutors Thursday morning.
With the start of proceedings in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court delayed without explanation on the trial’s fourth day, the possibility of a deal seemed increasingly likely.
The defendant’s father took away all doubt when he angrily stormed into the courtroom and told Williams’ friends and family that “Kluge (defense attorney Bill) is trying to talk him (Brent Williams) into taking six years” in prison.
Before leaving the courtroom, Glenn Williams stopped and pointed across the room at Assistant Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Elder. “You son of a bitch,” the elder Williams shouted before leaving.
Nearly an hour later, Brent Williams and Kluge returned to the courtroom. Kluge carried paperwork that represented the deal offered by prosecutors.
It was placed on the official record later in the day Thursday that prosecutors had offered Williams the opportunity to plead guilty to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter, with a stipulation capping a maximum sentence of five years behind bars for the Waynesfield man.
But as the defendant sat down at the defense table to sign the plea document, he had another change of heart, saying he wanted to see his parents before signing the deal.
Williams’ father, now back in the courtroom, strongly urged his son not to sign the deal that would have led to a five-year prison term for his son.
“Don’t sign … don’t sign,” Glenn Williams implored his son.
The message was received.
“No deal. I’m not going to sign. I’m not going to do it,” Brent Williams told a clearly exasperated Kluge. “I didn’t do anything. I loved Erin (his wife and the victim in the murder case). I didn’t hurt Erin.”
Prosecutors say Williams, 46, killed Erin Mulcahy, whose body was discovered on July 8, 2017, in a Karen Street apartment in the village of Waynesfield. The woman’s body was nude and lying in a running shower.
Auglaize County Coroner Thomas Freytag ruled the woman died of strangulation and had been lying in the shower for approximately three days before being discovered.
Testimony on Thursday came from various medical and law enforcement professionals, including Lucas County Coroner Dr. Diane Barnett, who confirmed the estimated time and manner of death.
The coroner said the autopsy of Erin Mulcahy revealed bruising to the chin, over the left eye, behind one ear, inside her throat and on the top of the right shoulder.
Barnett said the injuries, which she believes were suffered “recent to the time of death, were “consistent with strangulation.”
Upon cross-examination, Barnett said that — based on the nature of injuries — she did not believe Mulcahy suffered a seizure while in the shower, as suggested by the defense attorney.
“You don’t hit the top of your shoulder when you fall,” she said.
Kluge cited a separate evaluation of the autopsy report performed by Dr. Werner Spitz, a noted forensic examiner.
“Dr. Spitz concludes that there is nothing in the evidence to suggest the manner of death is consistent with a homicide,” Kluge said.
“I respectfully disagree,” Barnett said.
Barnett also said that semen found inside Mulcahy’s body shows the woman had sexual intercourse “close to the time she died.”
With the conclusion of Barnett’s testimony the state rested its case.
The defense will present its case when testimony resumes for a fifth day on Friday.