A woman who was found guilty by a jury of beating her parents-in-laws’ dog to death last year, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison by a Seminole Circuit Judge this week.
Evita Williams, 26, was judged guilty of burglary and animal cruelty by a jury in July. In addition to sentencing her to 5 years in jail, the judge ordered her to serve 5 additional years of probation, attend anger-management class and undergo psychological, drug and alcohol evaluation. She is also not allowed to own pets.
Evita was accused of breaking into her parents-in-laws’ home, stealing Ginger, their 14-year-old Labrador mix and then beating her to death with an aluminum softball bat in their backyard.
Evita's in-laws, Sherry and Dan Williams, allowed Evita and their 4-year-old grandson to stay at their house in Longwood, Florida, temporarily because she had nowhere to go when she was having marital difficulties with their son, Frank.
However in July 5, 2011 her in-laws took measures to protect their dog after Evita had threatened to hurt Ginger. They locked Ginger in their bedroom, fearing for the dog’s safety. Just a day later, when the couple were away from home, Evita broke into their bedroom using a screwdriver to remove the door’s lock, muzzled Ginger and covered her with a blanket before killing her in the backyard. She then dumped the dog’s body in a garbage bin at a condo-complex close by. Ginger's body was never recovered as the bins had been emptied by the time deputies investigated.
A friend of Evita's came forward as a witness and said that Evita had told them she had killed the dog.
Additionally, a few days later Daniel Williams called his son with deputies listening in on the call. He asked about Ginger’s whereabouts and his son responded belligerently and referenced money. "She [Evita Williams] told you what she was going to do. She's [Ginger] just an animal. This is ridiculous. It's just an animal. Pay your money, or don't. All Evita wants is money and that's it," Richard Williams said during the call. Deputies did not learn the meaning behind the reference to money.
Deputies arrested both Evita and Richard Williams after the call. Frank Williams was arrested on burglary charges after he broke into his parents home and stole electronics and pawned the goods around the same time Evita killed Ginger.
Evita Williams was said to have killed the dog because she been upset by problems with her estranged husband and because Ginger had nipped her 4-year-old son a few months earlier, although the grandparents said the bite was minor.
At Evita's trial, prosecutor Stacey Salmons said that Ginger the dog had been a much-loved family pet. "They [Sherry and Dan] were so emotionally attached to this dog. To do something so violent and so vicious to the animal (suggests) the potential to do something violent and vicious to a person."