Murder victim's mother says guilty verdict was worth all she gave up

The guilty verdict in Denise Williams' murder trial of her husband Mike Williams can be traced to the one woman who never gave up: his mother, Cheryl Williams.

Denise Williams was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her then-husband, Mike Willaims.

“Fish and Game told me to my face, 'Ms. Williams, I don’t like to tell a mother that her son got eaten by alligators,'” said Cheryl.

It was a week later, Christmas Day when she visited the lake herself.

“And all of a sudden, a voice comes in my head, 'Mike is not in Lake Seminole,'” said Cheryl. "He did not drown.”

Cheryl got the local paper to write about the disappearance nine months later.

She said Denise was livid.

“She might as well have waved a red flag in front of a bull,” said Cheryl. "I knew that she knew where he was or what happened to him.”

What followed was a relentless campaign that ended up flushing out the killers.

Cheryl put up billboards, paid for a full-page ad in the newspaper, and wrote thousands of letters to the Governor.

The campaign came at the cost of her retirement.

“It did. I don’t have any savings,” said Cheryl.

The effort also cost Cheryl visitation with her granddaughter, who turned 19 the day her mother was arrested.

“She was all we had left of Mike,” said Cheryl. "So Denise, not only did she kill Mike, she stole Ansley.”

In the end, Cheryl says God told her not to quit.

"It took 18 years but the people got punished that killed him,” said Cheryl.

On Tuesday, a judge set a February 6th sentencing date for Denise Williams.

She is guaranteed life for her murder conviction.

She also faces life for conspiracy to murder and being an accessory after the fact.