Sentencing for Brianna Williams will resume Tuesday, judge says

The sentencing hearing for Brianna Williams, the woman who pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder in the 2019 death of her 5-year-old daughter Taylor, continued Friday.

Action News Jax first told you about Williams in 2019 when her daughter Taylor Williams was reported missing. The child’s body was later found in Demopolis, Alabama, where Williams is from.


Here are the live updates from Action News Jax’s Meghan Moriarty as they happened in court:

3:18 p.m.: Sentencing moved to Tuesday for Brianna Williams.

2:54 p.m.: Prosecutor: “this defendant left her daughter decaying in her apartment until she mustered up the courage to wrap her up in a shower curtain” and later leave her on the side of the road. “she put her out there in hopes of no one finding her.”

2:48 p.m.: Defense asking for 20.5 year sentence. “Ms. Williams said she apologizes for wasting everyone’s time, wasting resources.”

2:38 p.m.: Defense: “it’s a product of what we’re trying to present to the court of mental health issues.”

2:31 p.m.: Prosecutor: “She [Brianna] withdrew her [Taylor] from the world literally and figuratively.” Prosecution is asking for life in prison.

2:28 p.m.: Prosecutors saying Taylor Williams was locked in a closet day in and day out.

2:28 p.m.: Prosecutor says Brianna Williams wasn’t just going to work and going home. “She cared about her social life. She’s hanging out with men. And, where is Taylor? She’s left in that house all alone by herself.”

2:23 p.m.: CLOSING ARGUMENTS | Prosecutor: “this child was potentially malnourished.” “she discarded her daughter.” “like a piece of trash.”

2:19 p.m.: In the statement, written by Brianna Williams, she wrote “I know what I did was wrong. I didn’t immediately call the police, and when I did, I lied.”

2:16 p.m.: Williams does not want to testify, but she has written a statement that she’s asking her attorney to read for her. When asked by the judge “why don’t you want to make the statement yourself?” she said “I’m nervous and I’m scared.”

12:56 p.m.: 1 hour break. Judge still has more questions for witness. We will return at 2 PM.

12:47 p.m.: Right now, the judge and Dr. Bordini are going back and forth over the type of diagnostic tests he used on #BriannaWilliams. The judge appears to be asking questions regarding the difference between tests, accuracy, etc.

12:15 p.m.: At this point Dr. Bordini has been on the stand for about 2 hours talking about Brianna Williams mental capacity.

12:13 p.m.: Dr. Bordini said when Brianna found her daughter she saw a bottle of Tylenol near the body. At first, she thought her daughter overdoses on Tylenol. She ruled that out, because there wasn’t any vomit. “I don’t know what happened” Brianna said in int. w/ Bordini

12:12 p.m.: Dr. Bordini said Brianna left the apartment for a couple of weeks. She then came back. He said she was “manipulating her situation.”

12:11 p.m.: Prosecution: So how long do you think she was in the apartment with her dead child? Dr. Bordini said he believes (based on Brianna’s story to him) that Taylor died beginning of Oct., buried body beginning of Nov. Prosecution: so 1 month?

12:04 p.m.: Prosecution: You would agree she [Brianna] knows the difference between right vs. wrong? Dr. Bordini: Yes

11:47 a.m.: “She was very unusual” Dr. Bordini said, regarding Williams demeanor.

11:42 a.m.: Prosecution now questioning the defense’s witness. We were able to hear his name this time: Dr. Ernest Bordini. Here is his background http://cpancf.com/Dr_Bordini.html

11:16 a.m.: He continues to say that Brianna went back to look for Taylor’s body [again] and tried to look for her grandfather’s grave so she could bury Taylor next to him. Couldn’t find Taylor. This gave her a lot of anxiety. She told psych she planned to find Taylor and then commit suicide.

11:14 a.m.: Told psychologist she left the house a few times. She was having suicidal thoughts. She finally decided she wanted to bury Taylor next to her grandfather. Could not find grave and placed Taylor in a place where she thought she could find her again.

11:12 a.m.: Brianna Williams told psychologist she didn’t remember the exact day Taylor died, but she woke up one morning and found Taylor slumped over in the closet. She told him that Taylor was cold. She describes not knowing what to do.

11:08 a.m.: Regarding her apartment: “it was symbolic of her own external trappings of her uniform and military functioning.” per psychologist on the stand. He said the home was so filthy “they had to burn it down and then burn the hazmat suits.”

11:04 a.m.: Brianna Williams displays signs of agoraphobia, according to the psychologist on the stand. (definition via Mayo Clinic)

10:58 a.m.: Brianna Williams told psychologist that Taylor didn’t want to go to school. Taylor was allegedly being bullied. Brianna was having trouble with the day care schedule. When asked why she didn’t ask for help, Brianna said she had to take care of things on her own.

10:48 a.m.: Psychologist says “clearly she lied to police about the body being missing.” He adds she doesn’t tell the truth sometimes.

10:45 a.m.: He says Brianna said people were always “coming and going” in her life. Her mother moved away when she was young. She moved in with one aunt, after her other aunt’s husband allegedly propositioned her. Despite this she was an excellent student in school, according to psychologist

10:37 a.m.: The psychologist adds that in interviews he learned Brianna Williams was raped and had an abortion. He said she fell into a deep depression afterwards.

10:33 a.m.: He said she falls into several different personality disorder categories. He says her psychological test results revealed there was “a lot more under the surface.”

10:30 a.m.: This doctor has been visiting her in jail. He says she has characteristics of schizoaffective disorder. (via Mayo Clinic)

10:26 a.m.: Defense now calling their first and only witness: a clinical psychologist with a very extensive background in mental health/substance abuse (it was difficult to hear his name) he spoke at lengths about his qualifications.

10:04 a.m.: Prosecution rests.

10:03 a.m.: Prosecution said “you haven’t heard victim impact statements from family... because her own mother killed her.” Saying the family is having a hard time and does not want to testify on the stand, but they provided several photos and videos of Taylor for the court.

10:02 a.m.: “They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but these photos don’t just speak.” Prosecution says “you can smell the filth” regarding Taylor’s living situation.

[10 things to know: What happened to 5-year-old Taylor Williams?]

10 a.m.: Prosecution was supposed to call 18 witnesses, but has stopped at 16. We’re moving on to ‘victim impact photos’ from the prosecution.

9:59 a.m.: Defense asks JSO detective, did Brianna Williams ever disclose to anyone that Taylor was not with her, besides the 911 call she made the day she was reported missing? Detective says no, 911 call was first indication.

Timeline of events in disappearance, death of Jacksonville girl Taylor Williams

9:49 a.m.: Computer searches reveal a search about “refeeding syndrome,” a form of starvation or fasting that dramatically effects your hormones and could be fatal, according to JSO detective. Williams also read an article about a woman found not guilty for burying her child alive.

9:41 a.m.: Red dirt found inside/on Brianna’s car consistent with the dirt found on Landfill Rd. in AL where Taylor’s body was found.

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9:35 a.m.: Brianna Williams texted her mother saying “if navy command calls, you have Taylor.” Brianna Williams tells her sister “Taylor is a nightmare” complaining about her daughter opening bottles of ‘her water’ and hiding food under the bed.

9:28 a.m.: Cell phone data records show that Brianna Williams traveled to Alabama 3 separate times starting October 31. Williams requested leave from her post Oct 31-Nov 5. On trip 3, she went to ‘landfill road’ in AL according to GPS data from her vehicle.

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9:19 a.m.: Daycare records show that Taylor stopped attending daycare at the end of April 2019. Child was reported missing in Nov 2019.

9:15 a.m.: First on the stand: Detective Harmony Brooks w/ JSO. She said aprox. 10-15 detectives were sent to Alabama (where Taylor was found) to track down Brianna Williams finances. Then more officers were sent + JFRD’s recovery team. Approx. 75 first responders

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