Can You Guess The Crime Alleged Here?

Shanda Johnson-Williams faced a first-degree murder charge in her husband's death, investigators said.

We often discuss the criminal defense question of whether it is better to smile or not smile for a mugshot. Shanda Johnson-Williams, 48, went with the smile option, but it somehow does not quite fit the moment given that she is accused of . . .

stabbing her husband to death in Oklahoma.

Her husband, Jamie Williams, 48, was found at his home with a stab wound. Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) announced  via Facebook the charging of Johnson-Williams with first degree murder.

A mugshot is rarely introduced in a trial unless relevant to issues of injuries or other material fact. If Johnson-Williams were to claim that she was distraught and grieving at the time of her arrest (for example to contest statements), the prosecutors could seek to introduce the photograph. That would be disastrous for the defense for obvious reasons.

25 thoughts on “Can You Guess The Crime Alleged Here?”

  1. There seems to be new rules on the law lately, did she say out loud she was going to kill her husband? And if someone heard her say it, it does not count. The police charged her with a crime without seeing or hearing on video or audio? She should be able to call a witness that has no bearing on her case. What about if she tells everybody she really didn’t know her husband, or anybody connected to the crime? Maybe she should have her attorney tell the court that she cannot, under any circumstances be held responsible for any crime she may have committed. Can she call her husband a liar and therefore the crime does not count? She could just say everybody’s out to get her.

  2. I thought her crime was going to turn out to be something funny. Her rictus grin is appalling. I’m so sorry for her husband’s family.

    1. “Obviously.”

      “Obvious” chemical enhancement does not establish a fact.

      You sound like A-Damn Schiiiiiiiif’s witnesses.

      “Heard it from a friend who
      Heard it from a friend who
      Heard it from another you been messin’ around”

      Take It On The Run
      REO Speedwagon

      1. I followed that remark with a link to John Prine’s “Illegal Smile”. It was intended to be a joke.

        You sound like you’re one of these tiresome folks who has to correct everyone else’s comments, even when your correction shows you didn’t understand what was said.

      2. Assuming that some of our friends down-thread aren’t right about the suspect qualifying for a M’Naghten Rule defense – Oklahoma’s one of the United States for which the M’Naghten Rule holds:

        “a criminal defendant is not guilty by reason of insanity if, at the time of the alleged criminal act, the defendant was so deranged that she did not know the nature or quality of her actions or, if she knew the nature and quality of her actions, she was so deranged that she did not know that what she was doing was wrong.”

        , a reasonable alternative would be intoxication with any of a number of substances which might cause the suspect to express inappropriate emotions to her situation and/or her deeds.

  3. Her husband, Shanda Johnson-Williams, 48, was found at his home with a stab wound.

    His name was Jamie Wilson.

    The smart money says she’ll get the girl’s discount and serve about seven years.

    1. My thought exactly. The logical comeback if the case goes to trial and the prosecutor shows the jury the mugshot would be a forensic psychologist explaining mania and other disorders that cause inappropriate affect.

  4. My first guess was “Failure to License Pet Animal”, Yet “First Degree Murder” came in a close second.

    The line between Cat Lady and Malevolent Black Widow is often thin.

    1. I’d have bet public drunkenness or DWI. And I’m wagering that there was an alcohol-fueled domestic argument before that man met his end.

      1. I wouldn’t rule out organic causes for the grin – pseudobulbar affect (PBA) can cause just that sort of reaction, whether the patient is actually pleased or not. Then, there’s the great big wonderful world of recreational drugs, some of which also can cause inappropriate laughter.

    2. No, it’s not. Cat ladies have trouble building intimate relationships with people; they have no one to kill.

      The exemplary cat lady was the actress Frances Bavier (“Aunt Bee” from The Andy Griffith Show). She never married and had no children. She spent her last 15 years in a town in North Carolina where she’d never before lived. There were women in the town she was congenial with, but she eventually ended up living as a recluse because strangers in public places confounding her with the character she’d played for 10 years irritated her so. (Her car at the time of her death had four flat tires and hadn’t been driven in at least three years). She had after 1959 just two proximate relations (a niece and a grand-nephew), but lived hundreds of miles away from them. She was irritable with her co-workers and not friends with any of them off the set. (Ron Howard’s bland remark was ‘she didn’t like children much’). The most notable bequest in her will was to endow a Christmas club for the local police and fire & rescue in the town she lived in. Lady owned a lot of cats – 14 or so by some accounts. There was room in the house that had three inches of little strewn on the floor which was a common latrine for the set.

      1. I never knew that about “Aunt Bee”. That’s very sad.

        Cats are very emotional creatures, and they can bond quite strongly to their people. One or two can be sweet, comforting additions to your home. I have two myself, and whenever anyone is sick or had a long day, they immediately snuggle next to them. I had a cat growing up who would become ill if I ever went anywhere on vacation, he would worry so much about my absence.

        14, however, would be extremely stressful. That much disorder in anyone’s life isn’t comforting; it’s chaos. Plus they can never take care of that many animals, or give each sufficient attention. It’s not a good life for the animals trapped in that situation. The smell would be atrocious.

        1. By some accounts, she bought her house in Siler City, NC sight unseen at the time of her retirement in 1972. Supposedly, it encompasses 9,000 sq ft of floor space. This, for a woman who spent her first 50 years in Manhattan and her next 20 in Los Angeles (and whose closest relatives were billeted on Long Island). One place she lived in LA was a house built in 1950. It’s still standing, all 6,000 sq feet of it. It would have housed her and perhaps her sister. The cats weren’t the only decision she made that didn’t make much sense.

      2. Andy Griffith said years later that he made the mistake of calling her “Frances”
        once, and she coldly told him she was to be addressed as “Miss Bavier”.
        She wasn’t exactly a major star, but seemed to behave like she was a one. Reputed to be difficult to work with.
        Toward the end of her life, Andy Griffith said they had a good conversation, and that she apologized for being a pain to work with.

        1. The accounts I’ve seen don’t indicate that she was an impediment to anyone getting their work done or peculiarly high-maintenance. They describe her as irritable and frosty and offended by the clowning around done by men on the set. She sounds like a feminine type that was vastly more common 50 years ago than today. A librarian of my acquaintance once described the academic library at which she was hired in 1950 as a cataloguer: “conversation in the department was subdued, and under no circumstances could have anything to do with anything but the business of cataloguing”. You figure her supervisor was someone born around 1908. A woman of similar vintage was the receptionist at my elementary school. She treated everyone with asperity and was pointlessly inflexible with her petty rules, something you seldom see nowadays from people whose work involves dealing with the public.

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