JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The Florida Commission on Offender Review, which considers parole cases from across the state, started a two-day meeting Wednesday at Jacksonville Beach City Hall to hear cases for dozens of inmates, including a woman convicted of killing her three children nearly 15 years ago in Central Florida who asked for a second chance to live her dying days at home.
Andrea Williams, 47, wasn't at the parole hearing Wednesday, but the commission reviewed her case and denied her request to be granted a conditional medical release because she was recently diagnosed with cancer and given less than a year to live.
Warning: Some may find the details in this story disturbing.
In 2004, Andrea Williams was sentenced to three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to killing her three children --9-year-old Ilona, 6-year-old Ian and 5-year-old Ivey, on Mother’s Day that year. Andrea Williams admitted to drugging and suffocating them in their Longwood home. The confession was made after she was arrested in North Carolina on trespass charges unrelated to her children, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Gary Williams, the children's father who is from the Jacksonville Beach community, came back this week to argue against letting his ex-wife out. He is still shaken by the loss of his three children.
"It's real tough. It's real hard," he told News4Jax. "I don't think a day goes by and I don't think about it."
Gary Williams said he had no inkling at the time that something was wrong.
"None. Zero. Nothing at all," he said.
The pain resurrected Wednesday when Gary Williams had to go over the gruesome details again. Andrea Williams asked the state to be released from prison because she has terminal cancer and wants to live her final days at home with relatives.
Gary Williams found out Saturday and being too emotional to testify, he asked his twin brother, Terry Williams, and the Seminole County state attorney to speak for him.
"There's no better place than prison for Andrea Williams to spend her last days on Earth," said Stacey Salmons, with the Seminole County State Attorney's Office.
Terry Williams said the fact that Andrea Williams even asked to be released from prison was like a slap in the face.
"It rehashes it, brings it all back -- just like the very first day it happened," Terry Williams said.
The commission quickly and unanimously voted to deny her request and keep her behind bars despite her illness. It was a relief for Gary and Terry Williams, who want no mercy for the woman who turned their lives upside down.
"I'm just glad justice was served today," Gary Williams said. "She'll get what she deserves and my kids can move on from it and I can move on now."
Terry Williams said his message to her is "burn in hell."
"She got what she deserved," he said.
When News4Jax asked the director of the prison release board how common it is for people to get out based on medical conditions, she said that it does happen, but in this case, given the heinousness of the crime, the commission decided that Andrea Williams would not be getting a break and will have to die in custody.