Fred Lee Williams, the 51-year-old Monticello man charged with killing a Warren woman then burying her body behind his home, is fit to stand trial, according to a mental evaluation conducted by a psychologist at the Arkansas State Hospital.
Williams is charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse in connection with the April 2013 death of 36-year-old Tangela Walton, of Warren.
Though Williams has a documented history of mental health treatment for depression, he did not manifest symptoms of mental disease or defect at the time the alleged murder occurred, according to Lacey C. Willett, a licensed forensic psychologist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry.
“While it is possible that Mr. Williams experienced some depressive symptoms in the timeframe of the alleged offense, there is no evidence that he experienced mood symptoms that rose to the level to be considered a mental disease under (state law), and his attempts to feign or exaggerate psychopathology during the current evaluation precluded any valid assessment of his mental state,” Willett wrote in her report.
Willett did note that Williams attempted suicide, which resulted in hospitalization, but said that attempt was not made until immediately before officers were planning to arrest him and well after the alleged offense.
Based on Willett’s evaluation and resulting opinion, Williams understands the proceedings against him and has the capacity to assist in his defense.
According to an April 2013 probable cause report, Walton was reported missing when she failed to pick up her daughter from daycare on April 5, 2013. Records show that Walton had received calls and text messages from Williams, her former boyfriend.
Walton’s cell phone records indicated that her last call and cell phone location was hitting a tower in range of Williams’ home.
Prior to Monticello police officers’ arrival at Williams’ home, officers received a report that Williams had attempted suicide. Meanwhile, Warren police had received a report from a woman saying that she had overheard Walton on her cell phone in a heated argument the day of her disappearance. The person making the report told police that Walton told her she was arguing with Williams, according to the probable cause report.
Williams and his attorney subsequently went to the Monticello Police Department to meet with officers. During that April 14, 2013 meeting, Williams reportedly told officers he had buried Walton’s body. He then led the officers to a small grave located in a wooded area behind his home, according to the report.
Williams, who reportedly has a history of seizures as a result of a traumatic brain injury in 1982, told officers that he had a seizure while engaging in sex with Walton. He said when he awoke she was not breathing.
Asked how he believes Walton died, Williams reportedly told police he believes she panicked and exerted herself while trying to get him off of her during the seizure. Not knowing what to do, he said he buried her body.
Williams’ detailed account of that alleged event is not consistent with the condition of Walton’s body, which appeared to have trauma in the facial area, according to the probable cause report.
The state Medical Examiner listed Walton’s death as a homicide caused by asphyxia, the means of which was undetermined. The report also noted multiple blunt force injuries.