Suwannee County forester charged in brutal murder of wife, daughter

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Posted at 6:05 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 21:25:49-05

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WTXL) - Suwannee County's senior forester has been arrested for the brutal murder of his wife and 15-year-old daughter.

Paul Graves Williams, 61, has been charged with two counts of first degree murder. 

According to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, the investigation began when officials at Stephen Foster Elementary School noticed that Paul's wife, Leslie, had not come into work in the past few days.

An employee at the school said they had been trying to contact Leslie for at least three days without success.

Probable cause documents say that when concerned school officials again tried to call Leslie on Friday, they ended up reaching her husband, Paul, who told them to "go check on her."

The Gainesville Police Department school resource officer then notified the sheriff's office and deputies responded to the Williams' household in Gainesville.

However, when deputies arrived to the home for a well-being check, they found blood on the floors and two victims dead inside the home. They also found a knife in the kitchen sink and a pair of scissors on the kitchen counter, both covered in what appeared to be blood.

The victims were later identified as Paul's wife, Leslie 'Lisa' Williams, 57, and his 15-year-old daughter Paige Williams. Investigators described the victims' deaths as "traumatic," and noted that both bodies appeared to be staged in two different bedrooms after they were killed.

Court documents say the the crime scene "depicted a very brutal death." An investigation revealed Leslie had been stabbed and suffered blunt force trauma to her body while Paige had been stabbed at least 35 times. 

Deputies say Paul wasn't home when the victims were discovered and note that there were no signs of forced entry into the home, leading them to immediately identify Paul as a person of interest.

During the first few hours of the search, deputies say Paul still hadn't been found but say he eventually drove himself back to the crime scene on Friday where he was taken into custody.

According to court documents, Paul later admitted to stabbing his wife and daughter, staying that he stabbed his daughter with a kitchen knife until she was "gone." He said he then attacked his wife, stabbing her multiple times. 

He told deputies that he stayed in the house with the bodies for at least a day before leaving the home. The suspect told investigators that he he knew what he was doing was wrong but he "snapped" and "it was the devil in him."

Paul has been charged with two counts of premeditated murder.

He is also being charged with two counts of refusing a crime victim medical care that resulted in death and two counts of tampering or fabricating physical evidence.

If you have any information on the case, you are asked to call ACSO's criminal investigations division at (352) 367-4170.