Friends of Ensley woman killed speak out about domestic abuse
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) —
Friends of a murdered Ensley woman provided new details on the last moments of her life and the controlling relationship they say is to blame.
Patrick Miles Smith, 49, is charged with homicide for the death of 60-year-old Mary Ellen Williams. He has no bond.
Escambia County Sheriff's deputies were called to the 8600 block of Mayflower Avenue on Friday night.
Authorities found Williams' body outside her neighbor's house.
Major Andrew Hobbs said she died from blunt force trauma. Smith was arrested hours later and charged.
Toni Gablow said Williams was trying to get out of an abusive relationship with Smith, but it ended up costing her her life.
"She did not deserve that," Gablow said. "Because she was the most kind-hearted person ever that you would ever meet. She would do anything for you, even though she didn't have a lot, she would do it no matter what."
Gablow helped set up a makeshift memorial outside her home. She said that's where her best friend's life came to an end.
"She'd light up your life. She'd smile even on the days that she had a bad day, she'd smile and I'll tell her it would be okay. We'd get through it together," Gablow said.
Gablow said after enduring hours of abuse across the street at her home, Williams was able to escape out the back door and make it to her lawn.
Gablow said she witnessed Smith drag Williams to the sidewalk and slam her head on the concrete a handful of times.
"That was the hardest thing, when I come out that door and I see him hurting her," Gablow said. "All I could think of was, 'Okay, I've got to get him off of her.' I grabbed the shovel and I knocked him to get him off. For him to stop doing that to her and he was going to go back at her and I literally took the shovel into his stomach to stop him."
In addition, Kim Summerlin, who befriended Williams at church, described their relationship as a fatal attraction.
Summerlin said, "She was a woman in love who thought that she could fix her so-called man."
She said Williams made a haunting prediction days before her death.
"She says, 'All I need you to do is pray for me because I feel like the only way that I will get away from him is he's going to kill me,'" Summerlin said.
Summerlin feels some comfort knowing Gablow was there during Williams' final moments.
She said, "When she took her last breath it was not to him, it was to someone who she knew loved her."
Williams' friends hope her death helps others find a way out of abusive relationships.
Gablow said, "If you need help there's always somebody out there to help you. A friend, a family, somebody is going to help you. You don't have to be in that kind of relationship ever. You don't ever need it."
Wlliams' friends encourage anyone who suspects domestic violence in a home to call 911.
If you or anyone you know is the victim of abuse there are places that can help.
Favor House of Northwest Florida helps victim's of domestic violence.
It's located at 2001 W. Blount St, Pensacola, FL 32501 or call (850) 434-1177.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (http://www.thehotline.org/) has trained advocates available to take your calls 24/7/365 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).