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'I failed as a mother and a decent human being:' Sentencing for Brianna Williams pushed to next week

Former Navy Petty Officer Brianna Williams has been in jail since November 2019, she pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the death of her 5-year-old daughter.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — *WARNING: Some details in this story may be disturbing to readers. 

Sentencing for Brianna Williams, the mother who pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder of her 5-year-old daughter, continued Friday.

Williams is a former Navy Petty Officer First Class at NAS Jax who has been in jail since November 2019, originally charged with aggravated child abuse, lying to police and tampering with evidence in the death of her daughter, Taylor Rose Williams.

Williams pleaded guilty to second degree murder at her twentieth pretrial hearing in March. 

Friday's sentencing began at 10 a.m. and adjourned shortly after 4 p.m. 

Judge pushes sentencing

The judge pushed the sentencing to Sept. 20 at 1 p.m. 

He said he wants to go through all 127 exhibits, read a deposition and the psychologist's report. He intends to read every word and didn't have time to do that all today, so he pushed sentencing to Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 1 p.m.

In court Friday, Williams had a statement read aloud by a mitigation specialist from the public defender’s office. In a quiet, almost inaudible voice Williams said she didn’t want to read the statement herself because she was "scared and nervous."

Here is Williams' statement in full:

“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 timely 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."

Prosecutors contend that Williams tortured, maliciously punished or caged Taylor between the last time the girl was seen alive in April 2019 and when Brianna Williams reported her daughter missing in November of that year.

During Thursday's sentencing, evidence including carpet samples and photos of bones were put on display for the courtroom to see.

Officer Jay Livingston with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was called as a witness. Livingston responded to Williams' call for missing child Nov. 6, 2019 and said it was "very unusual" that no one was outside the house waiting for him. 

In cross-examination Livingston said Williams wasn't overly emotional, and it appeared "her tears were forced."

Full recap of Thursday's sentencing.


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