BRANDY NICOLE WILLIAMS a/k/a BRANDY WILLIAMS a/k/a BRANDY N. WILLIAMS
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
OF JUDGMENT: 03/18/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. RICHARD W. McKENZIE
COURT ATTORNEYS: TONY LAWRENCE, CHERIE R. WADE, ANDRE de
GRUY, VICKI GILLIAM
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER
JUSTIN T. COOK GEORGE T. HOLMES ANDRE de GRUY
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
LAURA H. TEDDER
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ANTHONY N. LAWRENCE, III
RANDOLPH AND KITCHENS, P.JJ., AND CHAMBERLIN, J.
On March 18, 2016, a George County jury convicted Brandy
Williams of the capital murder of Sheriff Garry Welford. The
George County Circuit Court sentenced Williams to life
without the possibility of parole in the custody of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections. Williams now appeals.
She argues that the trial court committed reversible error by
not quashing her indictment, improperly instructing the jury
and admitting evidence of Williams's prior crimes. After
review, we affirm.
OF THE FACTS
Williams lived primarily in George County before July 21,
2010. She and Christopher Baxter had been dating since the
fall of 2009-a fact that was known throughout the law
enforcement community of George County. George County Deputy
Bobby Daffin claimed that he never saw Baxter without seeing
Williams and never saw Williams without seeing Baxter.
Williams and Baxter regularly lived in her father's
trailer together, and Williams often drove her father's
maroon Chevrolet Z71 truck (the "Z71").
On April 26, 2010, Baxter pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court
of George County to the manufacture of methamphetamine; the
court continued his sentencing until July 19, 2010. Williams
admitted that she knew Baxter had pleaded guilty in court and
that he would have to go back to jail.
Williams also had a prior criminal record; she had been
indicted for two separate counts of grand larceny in November
and December of 2008. Williams had enrolled in a pretrial
diversion agreement in the Jackson County Circuit Court on
July 15, 2010-only six days before Sheriff Welford was
killed. One of the conditions of her participation in the
pretrial diversion program was to "avoid persons . . .
of disreputable or harmful character."
July 19, 2010
On Monday, the day of Baxter's sentencing, Baxter left
Williams's residence around 9:15 a.m. in his Sonoma.
Williams alleged that Baxter told her that he was going to
court. Baxter never appeared in court though, and a bench
warrant was issued for his arrest. Around 12:45 p.m., George
County deputies arrived at Williams's residence, and
Williams told them that Baxter had left that morning to go to
court. Williams stated that she did not see Baxter again
until Wednesday, July 21, 2010.
Rita Butler, Williams's next-door neighbor, admitted that
on Monday morning Williams knew that Baxter "hadn't
turned himself in . . . . So, yeah, she knew at that time
that he had not and he was running from the law." Butler
also testified that Williams had told her on Monday that she
was through with Baxter.
July 20, 2010
Robin Howell, Baxter's aunt, testified that Baxter
arrived at Howell's house on Tuesday evening, driving the
Z71. Further, she testified that Williams and Baxter left her
home together that evening in the Z71.
July 21, 2010
Williams alleged that on Wednesday morning she was at
Baxter's father's house while Baxter's father
repaired the Z71's brakes. She stated that Baxter drove
up in his truck before noon and asked her to drive him into
town to get some screws for his truck. Williams maintained
that this was the first time that she had seen Baxter since
he left her house on Monday morning to go to court. She
agreed to drive Baxter into town in the Z71 and admitted that
she knew that the police were looking for him. Williams
claimed that she had told Baxter on the way into town that
she wanted to break up, mentioning that she had just entered
the pretrial diversion program.
According to Williams, she drove Baxter to the Walmart and
entered the store alone to get the screws. Howell claims that
Williams then called her and said that there were "too
many cops" at the Walmart and that they should meet at a
fire station in Twin Creek. Howell did meet Williams and
Baxter to get the screws from them. According to Howell,
Williams was driving the Z71 as she left the fire station,
and Baxter was in the passenger seat.
At 2:38 p.m., Deputy Daffin, exiting a parking lot onto Scott
Road, saw the Z71 on Old Highway 63 waiting to turn onto
Scott Road. The Z71 turned onto Scott Road and was aligned
parallel to Daffin's vehicle temporarily. Daffin saw that
Williams was driving. He also saw that the passenger seat was
leaned back and "could see what appeared to be an elbow
or arm sticking up as if someone were trying to hide in the
vehicle." At that point, Daffin believed Baxter was
hiding in the Z71.
Daffin made a u-turn and approached the Z71 to attempt a
traffic stop. Daffin testified that the Z71 accelerated as he
turned around and that he did not catch up to it again until
it had traveled down Scott Road to the intersection with
After stopping at the end of Scott Road, Williams turned onto
Highway 26. Daffin followed Williams onto Highway 26 and
turned on his blue lights and sirens. Daffin pursued Williams
for approximately 16.8 miles from Highway 26 to the scene of
the impact. The entire chase took only thirteen to fourteen
minutes. Throughout the chase, Williams often drove
recklessly at speeds from 75 to 100 miles per hour.
After being notified of the pursuit, Sheriff Welford and
Deputy Tony Keel left the Sheriff's department in
Lucedale in Sheriff Welford's Dodge Charger (the
"Charger"). They determined that the pursuit was
headed west and set up a checkpoint at the intersection of
Howard Road and Bexley Road South. Investigator Duane Bowlin
and Agent Justin Strahan soon joined Sheriff Welford and
Keel. Once the checkpoint was setup, Bexley Road South was
not fully blocked in either direction. Two avenues of escape
were left open in case Williams decided not to stop. Also,
the blue lights in all three vehicles were activated.
Deputy Bowlin testified that as soon as he arrived at the
checkpoint, he exited his vehicle and was walking toward
Sheriff Welford's Charger when he heard the "steady
roar" of the Z71's approach. He turned back toward
his own vehicle and turned again toward the Charger in time
to see Sheriff Welford struck by the Z71.
Bowlin further testified that he remembered seeing the