Howard Hawk Willis – White, age 52

Sentenced in Washington County, Tennessee
By: a jury
Date of crime:  October 6, 2002
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  The bodies of Adam Chriemer (age 17) and his wife Samantha Leming Chrismer (age 16) were found in a rental storage unit.  Willis was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and felony murder, with the prosecution focusing its case on his prior drug-related conviction and prison sentence as well as the grisly nature of the crime.  Some of the evidence shown (the dismembered bodies) made a juror physically ill. Moreover, Willis represented himself at trial.  The storage unit was rented by Willis’ mother, Emma Elizabeth Hawk (age 70), who was arrested for abuse of a corpse, accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and attempting to tamper with evidence.  Authorities believe that the motive for the killing could have been that Leming was pregnant with Willis’ baby and that perhaps the teens had witnessed him kill his stepfather, Samuel Thomas.
Sources: 6/1/10 AP Alert – GA 19:30:07, 6/21/10 AP Alert – TN 23:25:17, NBC 3 WRCB-TN 9/15/10 (2010 WLNR 18445097), Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN) 9/15/10 AP Alert – GA 21:17:35, 9/16/10 AP Alert – TN 07:00:20.