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Briana Shontae Williams, 30, Former Navy Petty Officer Who Did ‘Willfully Torture’ and Starve 5-Year-Old Daughter to Death Learns Her Fate

Exploring ‘Briana Shontae Williams, 30, Former Navy Petty Officer Who Did ‘Willfully Torture’ and Starve 5-Year-Old Daughter to Death Learns Her Fate’ A 30-year-old mother and former Navy petty officer in Florida will spend the rest of her life behind bars for starving and killing her 5-year-old daughter in 2019.

Briana Shontae Williams, 30, Former Navy Petty Officer Who Did ‘Willfully Torture’ and Starve 5-Year-Old Daughter to Death Learns Her Fate

According to prosecutors, Circuit Judge Kevin Blazs sentenced Briana Shontae Williams to a life term in a Florida state prison for the murder of toddler Taylor Williams. In March, Williams admitted guilt to one count of second-degree murder in connection with the death of her daughter.

According to a press release from the Office of the State Attorney for Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit, Williams on Nov. 6, 2019, called the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and reported that her daughter was missing. She further claimed that she found the backdoor to her Brentwood home opened, sparking a “massive search effort and investigation” to find the missing child.

As the search efforts unfolded, however, prosecutors say Williams “became uncooperative with law enforcement and lied about several key timeline facts about Taylor.”

Briana Shontae Williams
Briana Shontae Williams, 30, Former Navy Petty Officer Who Did ‘Willfully Torture’ and Starve 5-Year-Old Daughter to Death Learns Her Fate

“The investigation showed Williams — days prior to Taylor’s disappearance — traveled to a remote area of Alabama where she briefly stayed before immediately returning to Jacksonville,” the release states.

In Alabama’s Demopolis, where Williams had recently visited and briefly stayed, the Demopolis Police Department found human remains buried in a shallow grave less than a week after Taylor was reported missing. A forensic examination quickly after the remains were found established their Taylorness.

In a probable cause affidavit filed with the initial arrest warrant, authorities reportedly said that Williams “did willfully torture, maliciously punish, or willfully cage” her daughter prior to her death, according to a report from the Florida Times-Union. While prosecutors sought a life sentence, Williams’ public defender reportedly asked the court to sentence his client to the minimum of 20.5 years in prison, emphasizing that she was a first-time offender who had served her country.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Blazs said his judgment was based in large part on his belief that Williams starved Taylor to death before disposing of her body, Jacksonville NBC/ABC affiliate WTVL reported.

Specifically, Judge Blazs cited evidence produced during the multi-day sentencing hearing that reportedly showed Williams did “no significant grocery shopping” and that when Taylor was last seen she was “small” and appeared to have lost a lot of weight. She was last seen alive in April 2019.

According to WTVL, medical professionals were apparently unable to determine Taylor’s precise cause of death due to “the way her body was disposed of.”

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said that when they inspected Williams’ house, they discovered only a little bed and “no proof a child lived there.” According to reports, the bed was covered in maggots, feces, and urine.

However, one of the apartment’s locked closets was said to have blood spatter on its interior walls and floor and to smell foul of “human decomposition” and “bodily waste.” According to reports, Taylor’s DNA was matched through blood tests.

Prior to sentencing, a mitigation specialist from the public defender’s office reportedly read Williams’ statement to the court because she was too “scared and nervous” to read it aloud herself:

I knew what I did was wrong. I failed as a mother, a protector, and as a decent human being. I didn’t immediately call the police and when I finally called, I lied and lied some more. I didn’t take any time opportunity to right my wrongs. I apologize to everyone affected by this tragedy. I’m tormented and punished every day since losing my baby. I tried to kill myself to escape the law, however, I’m not asking for any sympathy. I deserve everything I’ve received over the past approximately three years, externally and internally. I lost the most important person in my life. I lost myself. I accept full responsibility for everything. I voluntarily pleaded up to murder. I blame no one but myself.

Read More: Michael D. Williams, 47, Allegedly Murders His Ex-Wife And Her Adult Son Amid Dispute over Electric Bill In Volusia County, Florida

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