Beth Williams Murder: What Happened to Jerry Joe Wilson?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? One Night Affair’ depicts how a fierce and independent Beth Williams was murdered in late March 1986 in Baker City, Oregon. While the brutal nature of the crime perplexed the police, they nabbed the perpetrator with the help of an anonymous tip and multiple witness statements. The episode aims to provide a comprehensive and chronological view of the events that led to the heinous crime.

How Did Beth Williams Die?

Beth Williams, the Editor and Advertising Manager of the Boardman Enterprise, was reported missing in late March 1986. Employed at the newspaper for around 18 months, she had been visiting relatives in Baker City in Baker County, Oregon. Her mother, Ellen Williams, reported her missing when her daughter failed to return home on March 22. According to reports, she was last seen leaving Cattle Kates — a Baker City bar — that night. The authorities would find her body in a shallow grave off Trail Creek Road, about 11 miles south of the city.

The body was discovered five days later, on March 27, and her purse was recovered in a separate hole. The officers found a shovel about half a mile from the grave. According to the coroner’s report, she died of massive head injuries and had been bludgeoned to death with a blunt instrument. The detectives located a rock near where the body was buried and suspected it to be a murder weapon. Witnesses reported seeing her with a local man on the night of her disappearance, and they reportedly left the bar together.

Who Killed Beth Williams?

The events started with the story of 19-year-old Robin Faulk, a small-town girl, who was pregnant, broke, and all alone in 1980 summer. The biological father of her child was a high school sweetheart, and he ended the relationship after she got pregnant. Not wanting her daughter to suffer for her “foolishness,” Robin moved to her family’s farm in Richland in Baker County, Oregon. She worked for her father and was solely focused on raising her daughter. However, she developed a relationship with a laid-back delivery man Jerry Joe Wilson.

Robin described Jerry as “tall, very good-looking, and an outdoor person” and recalled how she got butterflies seeing him. What clinched the scales of their relationship toward him was how good he was with Beth’s daughter. Within four months of dating, they realized they were perfect for each other, and the couple married in December 1980. The newlyweds moved into their small Richland home and legally adopted Robin’s infant daughter. They welcomed another daughter in May 1982 and moved to Baker City a couple of years later.

Jerry’s parents lived in Baker City and welcomed Jerry, Robin, and their grandchildren with open arms. They had an extra house in the Oregon town, and the Wilson family moved into it. However, Robin began noticing her erstwhile husband working long hours and usually staying away from home, hanging out overnight with friends after work, and staying away on weekends. She initially did not mind it as Jerry was “a good provider,” earning enough for them to get by and pay their bills.

By the summer of 1983, Robin began noticing her mother-in-law acting strange regarding financial issues. She drove the senior woman to the convenience store since she did not drive, and Jerry’s mother always offered to pay for their groceries. When a suspicious Robin confronted her husband, she was shocked to learn Jerry had lost his job a while ago and was living on his family’s support. It distressed her that Jerry’s entire family knew about it and had been hiding it from her for so long.

Robin got a job and tried to hold the family together, as Jerry continued to stay away from home. By 1984 summer, she had given birth to a son — their third child — but Jerry did not mend his ways. The wife was also furious to learn and catch his husband having an extramarital affair red-handed. Over the next two years, Jerry’s prolonged absences became more and more frequent, and his carefree excuses began to ring more and more hollow. Robin finally lost her patience and served her erstwhile spouse an ultimatum on March 21, 1986.

However, she was shocked by his response as Jerry shouted and punched the wall so hard that he fractured his hand. Afraid of him physically abusing or hurting her, Robin locked herself in a room as she heard Jerry storm off and drive away in his car. According to the episode, he did not return that night, but more distressing news was awaiting the Wilson family the following morning. Robin turned on the radio to hear about Beth Williams’ disappearance, and she recalled how it made her feel sick in the guts.

Meanwhile, the investigators probing Beth’s homicide soon learned from witnesses that she was last seen with Jerry as they walked out of Cattle Kates in the early hours of March 22. Robin’s fears turned out to be true when the police rolled into her driveway on March 24, just as Jerry was also returning home. Upon being questioned by the authorities, Jerry agreed to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence. The examination was scheduled a couple of days later, and Jerry continued going to work at a Chevron oil distributor firm till then.

Where is Jerry Joe Wilson Now?

On March 27, Jerry Joe Wilson went for the polygraph test and failed before being arrested and charged with one count of first-degree murder. He eventually confessed to the crime to the authorities and his erstwhile spouse. According to reports, Jerry and Beth had gone to his cabin after leaving the bar and engaged in sexual intercourse. However, he alleged Beth became upset after learning he did not use birth control and refused to calm down even after he told her he had a vasectomy.

According to Jerry’s testimony, Beth allegedly started calling her names and hitting him multiple times with her fists. Upon driving her back to town, Jerry finally lost his patience and took her to the remote area on Trail Creek Road. Blinded by anger, Jerry wrestled with Beth for a bit before hitting her several times with a rock, smashing her head, and killing her. Jerry pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder in late June 1986 and was sentenced to ten years to life. He was paroled after serving 14 years of his life sentence.

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