How Did William Tinker Die? Who Killed Him?

Image Credit: Shelton Funeral Homes/Tinker Family

In the tiny city of Crump, Tennessee, the residents were shocked by the sudden death of William Tinker, a loving father. In June 2018, an altercation by the local river led to gunshots ringing out in the area. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Secrets, Lies & Private Eyes: The Accused and the Lover’ follows private investigators working different cases as part of their daily workload. Part of the show focuses on Heather Cohen, an investigator looking into William’s case and considering the alleged killer’s self-defense story. So, if you’re curious to find out more, we’ve got you covered.

How Did William Tinker Die?

William Ray Tinker was born in March 1986 and was from Enville, Tennessee. At the time of the incident, he was married to Abigale Tinker and worked as a mechanic. William was a father to three children — two daughters and a son — and was considered a religious man as well. At the time of the incident, William and his wife were camping out by the river in Crump and had been there for a week or more.

Sometime after 10 PM on June 12, 2018, William was involved in an altercation with someone else who visited the river, resulting in him being shot. Soon after that, Abigale drove William to the parking lot of a nearby restaurant and urged the people inside to call 911. First responders arrived to find the 32-year-old shot in the chest with a .30-caliber rifle. But sadly, despite resuscitative efforts, William didn’t survive.

Who Killed William Tinker?

The authorities later identified who visited the river that night. It was Justin Williams, along with his wife, Taylor, and two children. According to the initial investigation, Justin’s family had their children playing in the water when they came into contact with William. The conversation escalated to confrontation, with a dispute emerging between Justin and William. The authorities believed that Justin, then 34, shot William with a .30-caliber rifle before leaving with his family.

On the show, Heather talked to Justin, who provided his side of the story. According to Justin, he had spoken to William before and had cooked out with his family in the past. He claimed that on the evening of June 12, William seemed intoxicated and had threatened to rape Taylor, leading to an altercation between the two. Then, Justin said that William stabbed him with a knife before chasing him to his car.

Justin claimed on the show that Taylor had flung a rifle at him that he used for self-defense. Despite firing a warning shot, William refused to back down, with a knife still in his hand, resulting in Justin firing a second time. After that, Justin drove away with his family but claimed that he didn’t know the second shot hit William. As per the show, Abigale stated that Justin was the aggressor, directly contradicting the alleged killer’s story.

In the end, Justin was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, tampering with evidence, and violation of the offender registration law. He had a prior conviction for sexual battery and child molestation in Georgia and had failed to notify the local authorities within 48 hours of moving to Hardin County, Tennessee. At the time of the incident, he had been living there for about three months. From what we can tell, Justin remains behind bars awaiting trial.

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