Airman only sentenced to 35 years despite likely dismembering ex-wife with chainsaw

Steven Williams (Martin County Sheriff's Office)

A US Airman is set to serve a 35 year prison sentence after murdering and dismembering his veteran ex-wife in Florida.

According to the Palm Beach Post, 30-year-old Airman Steven Williams took a guilty plea for the murder of Hobe Sound resident and ex-wife Tricia Todd, giving him a mere 35-year sentence in exchange for giving authorities the whereabouts of the Todd’s body.

Partial remains were located late Thursday night in a secluded area of the Hungryland Preserve along the border of Martin and Palm Beach Counties in Southern Florida, in sealed containers full of liquid and acid. According to Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, Williams likely dismembered Todd with a chainsaw, although the saw has yet to be located at this time.

Williams told detectives that he got into a shoving match with 30-year-old Todd during an argument about monetary issues, resulting in her striking her head on “something”, which ultimately led to her demise.

Tricia Todd
Tricia Todd

Williams’ story of what happened after Todd struck her head changed several times before he finally confessed to hiding her body “in a panic”, according to police reports.

Although the odds of finding Todd’s body grew more remote with each passing day, Sheriff Snyder and law enforcement worked and searched relentlessly to find the missing mother of a 2-year-old daughter.

“We could not roll the dice,” Snyder said. “We wanted to get the body back and we wanted to bring closure to the family.”

Law enforcement scoured the area Williams indicated Todd’s body may be located in, using cadaver dogs and ATVs to ensure no stone was left unturned.

Attorney Shaun Plymale read a statement on on the behalf of Todd’s family, thanking law enforcement and volunteers for their help.

“We’d like to thank the Martin County Sheriff’s Office for their diligence and their tireless efforts,” Plymale said. “The countless volunteers who poured their time and hearts into the search, and the district attorney’s office for their guidance in coming to the conclusion that we have tonight.”

Plymale added that the family was “grateful to know that we will now be able to lay Tricia to rest with the grace and dignity that she deserves.”

Although Williams was given a 35-year plea deal, the Airman will face more severe punishment by civilian courts if he is found to be lying and will also be subject to a UCMJ hearing.

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