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Twisted Love: The Murder of Steven Williams

Opal Williams called police in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the spring of 2015 to report her husband missing. Opal was concerned that her husband, fifty-one-year-old Steven Williams, had not returned home after an argument. Her husband required a c-pap machine and medications for high blood pressure. Steven’s vehicle was soon found abandoned on the banks of the White River with blood inside the vehicle. This was the start of an investigation with many twists and turns that shocked the entire community.

Steven Doyle Williams was born on September 22nd, 1963, in Fort Worth, Texas. Steven joined the United States Army, serving in the Persian Gulf. He married a woman named April and became a father to three children. When the marriage failed, Steven became a single father of three children. During his time in the military, Steven developed a love for computers. After being discharged from the service, he started work as a computer programmer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In Iowa, he met a single mother who would change his life.

Opal, then a single mother in her twenties, met Steven Doyle in a karaoke bar in Iowa. Opal was born in Illinois in 1979. She married young and became a mother of two sons. Despite financial struggles, Opal made sure her children had everything they needed. When Opal and her husband divorced, a custody battle ensued. When Opal met Steven, who was in his forties, he offered to help her finance the custody battle. The two soon began a romantic relationship.

Steven and Opal Williams married, becoming a large-blended family. Steven landed a job as a computer programmer with Salesforce, moving the family to Indianapolis. Once most of the children were grown and moving out of the house, Opal decided to follow her long-time dream. As a child, Opal was the daughter of a long-haul truck driver. Opal loved the freedom of the open road and traveling, so she decided to become a truck driver. She gained her CDL and started working over the road.

Steven did not like to travel as much as Opal, so her being on the road started to drive a wedge between the two. When Steven’s daughter became pregnant, she moved back in with the couple along with her boyfriend. Additionally, Opal allowed her ex-husband’s current wife to move in with them after that marriage crumbled. The Williams’ home was now full, and it became fuller when Steve and Opal’s grandchild was born in 2015.

Steven and Opal had been having increased arguments. In the spring of 2015, Opal says Steven left angry after a fight. The next few days, the man failed to show up to work. He didn’t call or make contact with his family. He was reliant on medications and a breathing machine related to sleep apnea. These factors led his wife to believe that something may be wrong with Steven. She also thought there was another possibility, however. She thought Steven may have left with their house guest, Opal’s ex-husband’s estranged wife.

According to Opal, Steven had been having an affair with Linda, her ex-husband’s wife. Opal claimed that she last saw her husband at a restaurant four days earlier, when she had lunch with her husband, family friend Ricky King, and a cousin named Charles Lehman. Opal said that Steven wanted to have a polyamorous marriage in which Linda and Opal would be sister-wives. Opal was hesitant but agreed in order to make her marriage work. However, Opal and Linda could not get along, so Opal told Steven she couldn’t do it anymore. After this conversation at the restaurant, Steven disappeared with his white van.

A week later, on March 17th, 2015, the van was found abandoned near the banks of the White River. The area was known as a homeless area. Authorities also received a report of a man jumping off the bridge near by the location of the van. Could Steven had jumped, committing suicide? When a large amount of blood was found outside the van, police suspected that foul play was involved. However, they could not be sure the blood wasn’t a result of self-inflicted injuries.

Two days later, on March 19th, police found a rolled-up carpet in the river. Inside, was the body of Steven Williams. Police notified his wife that she needed to return to Indiana. She was currently with her friend, Ricky King, on a trucking job in Oklahoma. She claimed that they were also looking for Steven along the way, thinking he may have traveled that direction with Linda. Police told her that was not the case, as they just found the fifty-two-year-old dead. Opal and her friend headed back to Indiana.

Steven William’s autopsy showed that the man died a gruesome and violent death. Steven Williams did not commit suicide, he was murdered. Steven had suffered a stab wound to his chest and multiple lacerations to his neck and throat. Steven’s family was devastated and could not comprehend who would want to kill the computer programmer. The Williams’ family, however, was harboring many more secrets.

Ricky King was not a friend of Opal’s. He was her boyfriend. She met him while driving her truck as Ricky was a fellow truck driver. The two struck up a romantic relationship. Steven’s children explained that Steven is not the one who wanted the polyamorous relationship. Opal had begun her affair with Ricky, causing Steven to be understandably upset. Opal convinced Steven to have an extra-marital relationship of his own, with Linda. Opal got jealous, however, when Steven and Linda grew closer.

Linda was located and was living with her husband once again. She admitted to having a relationship with Steven Williams but claimed that the relationship ended after tensions with Opal. At that point, she returned to her husband. The woman denied knowing what happened to Steven, and her alibi proved she was not involved. Linda was ruled out as a suspect.

Police then questioned Opal’s sons. Her children told authorities that they heard the adults, being Opal, Ricky, and Charles, say they were leaving to “take care of business” on March 10th, the last day Ricky was seen alive. With this knowledge, police once again began questioning Opal Williams about the night her husband disappeared. Opal, seemingly to save herself, decided to change her story. This time, she admits to knowing that her husband was murdered on March 10th.

Opal’s new story was that she and her sons went with Ricky, Charles, and Steven to the restaurant. After the restaurant, the boys and Opal were dropped off at a relative’s house. Ricky and Charles then said they were “going to take care of business”, but Opal swore she was not aware of what they had planned. She said she begged Ricky not to do anything stupid. Later, she said Charles called her saying “it’s done”, but she didn’t understand what he met until the men told her what happened.

Ricky and Charles admitted that they lured Steven into his white van by telling him something was wrong with his wife. Steven, worried about Opal, went with the men. The men drove the van under the bridge by the White River, where Steven was killed. Ricky and Charles, however, said they placed multiple calls to Opal Williams throughout the murder. They allowed Steven to speak to his wife on speaker as they stabbed him, at which time the man begged for his life. The family member that Opal was visiting confirmed the phone calls occurred.

When Steven begged his wife to help save his life, Opal said, “you should not have been sleeping with another woman” and then told Ricky and Charles to “do it” (Mack, 2015). The relative also confirmed that this conversation occurred. Ricky held Steven down as Charles stabbed him multiple times and attempted to slit his throat. The men then rolled Steven into the carpet and placed the body in the river. They abandoned the vehicle, walking home.

The men claimed that Opal begged the men to help her kill Steven. She presented herself as a victim of domestic violence and promised to pay them a portion of the life insurance payout. Ricky was in love with Opal, so quickly agreed. Charles agreed to help for the money and to protect a woman he thought was abused. Opal apparently went to the scene of the crime the next day with the men to ensure no evidence was left behind.

With the testimony of both Opal, Charles, Ricky, and Opal and Steven’s relatives, all three suspects were arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Despite the testimony of her co-defendants, Opal maintained her innocence. Despite maintaining her innocence, Opal plead guilty because she said she was scared. She was sentenced in February of 2016 to fifty years in prison. Charles Lehman took a plea, receiving fifty-five years in prison. Ricky King, also taking a guilty plea, was sentenced to forty-five years in prison. 0

Opal continues to maintain her innocence, claiming Ricky and Charles acted on their own. She is incarcerated at the Indiana Women’s Prison and will not be eligible for parole until 2051. When she becomes eligible for release, she will be seventy-two years old. Steven’s family lost a dedicated father and grandfather because of one person’s twisted love.


Snapped. (2019). Opal Williams. Oxygen Network. Available to stream on Peacock

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