3rd day of death penalty arguments in Marian Williams trial focuses on mental health

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

The trial for Marian Williams entered the penalty phase this week after a jury found Williams guilty in the arson fire that killed three young boys. The jury will now have to decide if Williams will receive the death penalty.

Wednesday marks the third day of arguments in the penalty phase of the trial and focused largely on mental health.

Williams was found guilty of the first-degree murder of three children after setting a house on fire that ultimately killed the boys.

MORE: Jury finds Marian Williams guilty in the death of 3 children in an arson fire

The defense did not call two of the witnesses that were listed. They did play a video from Williams’s grandfather before hearing from doctors.

Her mental health history includes depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, anger management issues, substance abuse, and several visits to mental health treatment centers.

Two experts told the jury that Williams received medication for some of her issues, but stopped taking that medication before she started the deadly fire.

A psychiatrist and a psychologist both testified they believe Williams’s mental illnesses, combined with the fact that she was drunk the night of the fire, likely contributed to her committing the crime.

Dr. Wade Myers told the jury that Marian had a history of blackouts after drinking large amounts of alcohol.

Myers also said he found evidence of white matter disease in Williams’s brain on an MRI, which can affect things like judgment and impulse control.

Myers testified that it all creates a mitigating factor, that could be reason enough not to sentence her to death.

The prosecution argued there’s no way for any doctor to know what was going through Williams’s mind when she committed the crime because she never even admitted to it.

The state argued Williams refused help because she was inconsistent with treatment programs and stopped taking her medication.

On Monday, the state presented evidence and impact statements in support of the death penalty by lethal injection.

The defense brought out multiple family members of Marian Williams to speak on behalf of her character.

Closing arguments will happen Thursday and the jury will get the case sometime early in the day.

If the jury recommends the death penalty and the judge agrees, Williams will join three other women on death row in Florida. There are 302 men on death row. If they don’t recommend the death penalty, Williams is facing the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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