By Claire St. Amant
The Michele Williams case is one of the strangest stories I've ever written. It involves a stay-at-home mother in a wealthy Texas town, a supposed intruder and a dead husband. At first glance, it appears to be a home invasion gone wrong, but there's a darker side to this seemingly idyllic suburban family, one filled with bondage, betrayal and lies.PREVIEW: 48 Hours: Temptation in Texas
As the first reporter to look beyond the headlines, I discovered disturbing details about Michele's past that made me wonder if she was an innocent victim after all. Very few people wanted to go on the record at first, but once I cracked my first sources, the stories started flowing. It turned out even within her own family, there was a lot of deep-seated animosity. For one thing, there was bad blood between Michele, Greg's third wife, and Kathy, his first. Each one implied the other may have had something to do with his death--though police never suspected Kathy was involved.
Her own grown sons, handsome guys who were military veterans, had become estranged from her. And perhaps most divisive, after Greg died, Michele started dating her older son's best friend, who was 12 years younger.
I combed through hundreds of pages of police documents and interviewed as many family and friends of Michele and Greg Williams as I could. They told me bizarre tales of Michele dating back to her childhood -- a teenage pregnancy with disputed paternity, mysterious employment where she was paid in cash and a trail of men who seemed to come into and out of her life.
Greg wasn't exactly a saint either. A known steroid user with a hot temper, Greg had no shortage of enemies. But he was extraordinarily successful in his business as a computer consultant. When Michele and Greg got married, it was both for the third time. How they met is a matter of dispute, though at least one relative believes it was through a bondage website. Michele denied that, but acknowledged Greg owned a bondage club for a while.
When Greg was shot, Michele initially told police an intruder had killed her husband. But after more than five hours of interrogation, Michele changed her story to say Greg had committed suicide. There's no forensic evidence in the case because someone wiped down the crime scene with bleach.
After I published my first investigative piece on the murder of Greg Williams, "48 Hours" reached out to me to learn more about the case and much of my reporting will appear on Saturday night's episode "Temptation in Texas."
Claire St. Amant is the managing editor of CultureMap Dallas. She is featured on this week's "48 Hours" investigation into the death of Greg Williams, airing Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.