The mother of a missing Florida girl has been assigned a death penalty expert lawyer following her arrest.
Brianna Williams, the mother of 5-year-old Taylor Williams, is listed as an inmate in the Duvall County jail. She’s facing two felony child neglect charges, along with a charge of lying to police.
Williams was charged after she provided police with “numerous false statements” after reporting her child missing. Her bond has been set at $1 million.
JUST IN: Senior Public Defender Alan Chipperfield is assigned to represent Brianna Williams. He works for the homicide unit in the public defender’s office and has tried many high profile homicide and death penalty cases since the mid 80s. More details on this at 5:30 on @FCN2go pic.twitter.com/m4IkrPLRgM
— Shelby Danielsen (@NewsShelby) November 21, 2019
Alan Chipperfield, a senior attorney with the Duvall County public defender’s office, will represent Williams, according to First Coast News. He’s also the head of the homicide and capital defense unit at Florida’s 4th Judicial Circuit in Jacksonville.
“Alan is respected and known throughout the state for handling cases, many cases,” public defender Charlie Cofer told the outlet.
According to Cofer, Williams asked for an attorney while she was still in the hospital earlier this month after a failed suicide attempt.
Police said Williams attempted to take her own life after learning child remains were found near her hometown of Demopolis, Alabama. Although the remains have not yet been officially identified, authorities believe that the remains are of Taylor.
As of now, Chipperfield will likely work with a junior public defender to represent Williams. However, should her charges upgrade and include a possible death penalty, another senior attorney will join in.
Police sources previously told First Coast News that the remains found were severely decomposed. A coroner must first determine the cause and manner of death prior to an autopsy, per Alabama law. An autopsy is then scheduled if the coroner confirms foul play was involved, which will likely determine if Williams will face upgraded charges.
Officials haven’t yet announced a cause and manner of death, but the remains were sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy on Friday. Officials are also working to obtain a DNA analysis on the remains, which can typically take around a week.
“While indications are that this may be Taylor Williams, the exact identification of the victim will be made pending some detailed forensic analysis of those remains.” Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said last week.
Meanwhile, Williams remains in an 8 by 8-foot cell. She doesn’t leave the jail cell unless it’s to speak with her attorney, Action News Jax reports.
“She’ll be in isolation until they determine that she’s no longer a threat to herself, or in some circumstances, other people,” law and safety expert Dale Carson told the outlet.
Williams’ next court hearing has been scheduled for December 4 at 9 a.m.
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[Feature Photo: Taylor Williams (r)/Handout; Brianna Williams (l)/Police Handout]