WAPAKONETA — Brent Williams maintained his innocence Tuesday in an Auglaize County courtroom, immediately after being convicted of murder and handed a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
The 46-year-old defendant, who prosecutors say killed his estranged wife, Erin Mulcahy, nearly two years ago in an apartment in the village of Waynesfield, showed no emotion as the verdict was read. Before he was led away to begin serving his sentence, Williams had the opportunity to address the court.
“I am not guilty of these charges. I didn’t do this,” Williams told the judge. “I’m sorry that you felt I did do this.”
Williams rejected a deal from prosecutors during the latter stages of his trial that would have allowed him to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter with a maximum possible prison sentence of five years.
At the urging of his father, Williams declined that offer.
Testimony concluded Friday in Williams’ trial, and Judge Mark O’Connor, sitting by assignment of the Ohio Supreme Court, at that time said that he would issue his verdict on Tuesday. O’Connor was the sole trier of facts in the case, after Williams waived his right to a jury trial shortly before the start of the trial.
Mulcahy’s body was discovered July 8, 2017, in a Karen Street apartment in Waynesfield. The woman was nude and lying in a running shower when discovered by the landlord of the apartment, according to prosecutors.
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. Nearly a year later, Williams was charged in her death.
Various medical and law enforcement professionals testified for the state during Williams’ trial, including Lucas County Coroner Dr. Diane Barnett, who confirmed the estimated time and manner of death.
The coroner said the Mulcahy’s autopsy 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.”
A forensic pathologist hired by the defendant disputed Barnett’s findings. Dr. Werner Spitz testified that injuries described by Barrett were “inconsistent” with a death by strangulation and suggested the fact that there was no shown fracture to the victim’s hyoid bone — a fragile bone in the neck — makes a medical ruling of strangulation a “remote choice.”
Spitz added that the absence of “defensive wounds” on Mulcahy’s body was not compatible with a homicide.
Armed with medical information from several hospitals that suggested Mulcahy was prone to frequent seizures, Spitz said it is likely that Mulcahy suffered a seizure in the shower that led to her death.
O’Connor took all the evidence into consideration and found Williams not guilty of two of the three charges against him — one count of murder and one count of tampering with evidence — but guilty of murder for knowingly causing Mulcahy’s death.
His sentence was spelled out in the Ohio Revised Code as a statutory mandated prison term.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Assistant Auglaize County Prosecutor Ben Elder. “This started nearly two years ago; it’s been a long investigation. I’m just glad that justice prevailed, and I’m happy with the sentence that was imposed.”
Williams was represented by Lima attorney Bill Kluge. He is expected to appeal the verdict.