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Crime Traveler: A pregnant woman’s death reveals Derik Osborn’s history of abuse

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The Murder

The night of February 28th, detectives say Osborn and Williams had been arguing. Derik would later tell police he left to cool off and would spend the next few hours at a local sports bar.

According to Derik, Williams had gone to Branson to pick up some of her things, offering to give him a ride home when she got back to Springfield.

derik osborn found guilty

Osborn admits to investigators he and Williams began fighting in the parking lot. During an interview with police, he admits to shoving her out of the driver’s seat of his car.

State prosecutors would claim Osborn grabbed Williams by the neck and shoved her until she fell onto the concrete.

What happened next would soon be scrutinized by Springfield police officers, EMTs, and homicide detectives. The events would be debated by attorneys on both sides and observed by those in a Greene County courtroom.

State prosecutors and neighbors claim Osborn threw Williams against a wall in their apartment, causing her death in the early morning hours of March 1st, 2017.

Medical examiners say Williams suffered a skull fracture, brain bleed, and a cut on her liver.

Osborn would later be charged with two counts of second-degree murder and second-degree domestic assault for the murder of Valerie Williams and their unborn child.

After spending nearly four months in jail, Osborn was released after posting a $100,000 bond.

One year later, he would later test positive for marijuana during a required drug test.

In July 2018, Judge Calvin Holden denied a motion by the prosecution to revoke Osborn’s bond after a defense attorney questioned the testing.

Derik Osborn’s bench trial would ultimately begin in July 2021.

A Pattern of Violence

In the months before Williams’s murder, two police reports would be filed against Derik Osborn that would later reveal Williams was being physically abused.

On October 29th, 2016, Williams went to the Springfield Police Department to file a report regarding the abuse she had suffered the previous night.

Court documents say Valerie told police Osborn grabbed her by the jaw, shoved her against the door frame of a closet, then grabbed her face and yelled at her.

The Springfield police officer who later took images of the scene noticed Williams had a bump on her forehead, a bruise on her left elbow, a cut to the side of her lip, and a cut on her right shoulder.

Osborn was criminally charged for what he did to Williams that night. He was scheduled for a court hearing regarding the case on March 6th.

The second incident happened less than one month before Williams was killed. Osborn tells police in his first interview following the murder that he and Williams began fighting while at her condo in Branson the night of February 6th, 2017.

“We said horrible things. I threw food in the kitchen. She went out, I packed my stuff, she went out to my car, and she had a knife and took the knife to my car, and then I came around, and she turned and came at me with the knife. Then I pushed her to take the knife away … I pushed her, and she hit a rail.”

Body camera footage from the police officer who responded to Williams’ call to 911 shows her sitting outside the front door of the condo covered in blood. She’s sobbing as the officer walks up.

While lying in the emergency room that night, staff say they can hear the fear in William’s voice. Physician’s Assistant Tabitha Luneau later testified Williams told her, “the father of her unborn child had tripped her and pushed her to the ground.”

The father to Valerie’s 8-year-old son also testifies to what she experienced that night. Mark De La Fuente says Valerie had intended to file an order of protection against Derik, but she never followed through.

“She told me that she thought she was going to be killed that night,” De La Fuente says. “She said she was knocked out that evening, and she thought he was going to kill her.”

Osborn wouldn’t be arrested for what happened that night. Authorities say Williams didn’t file any charges against him.

The Trial

Day 1

The bench trial for Derik Osborn began on Monday, July 12th, 2021.

The trial began with an opening statement from the State. Derik Osborn’s attorney chose to waive his option to present an opening statement. Witnesses called by prosecutors include Osborn and Williams’ next-door neighbor at the apartment complex.

The man testified he and his wife had spoken with Williams once before, where Williams stated she was moving into the unit. On the night of the incident, the neighbor told the court he heard the couple arguing, followed by a loud crash into a wall the two apartments share. Carl Foerstner testified the crash was large enough to move items in his unit and sounded like someone had been thrown up against the shared wall.

“I said, ‘No honey, he slammed her against the wall,'” said Foerstner.

Five other witnesses also took the stand, all Springfield police officers or detectives who responded to the scene or conducted investigations following the incident. Police say the original 911 call was placed by Osborn and was listed as a possible drug overdose. The officers described Osborn as being in shock following Williams being taken to the hospital calm, unemotional, and evasive of specific questions officers asked him.

Evidence photos shown to the court depicted an apartment filled with unpacked boxes. Additional photos showed the couple’s bathroom, where a key chain with a small can of mace was laying in the bathtub, and droplets of what officers say was mace sprayed on the shower walls and toilet seat.

Based on early discussions in the trial, the defense is expected to claim Osborn and Williams were in an argument when she fell in some way.

Day 2

During the second day of a double murder trial in Greene County, state witnesses are testifying to claims of prior abuse the victim suffered in the days and months before her death.

The court also watched an hour-long video recording of Osborn’s first interview with a Springfield Police Department investigator. In the video, Osborn claims their relationship had been strained for about a month and had reached its peak the night of the incident in question. Osborn tells the investigator he had been drinking while at a sports bar the night of February 28th, 2017.

He claims Williams had offered to pick him up and take him home, but when she arrived, they began arguing again. During his interview, Osborn admits to pushing Valerie out of the driver’s seat of his car while sitting in the parking lot.

Investigator: “So you kick her out of the car…again, any slapping…?”

Osborn: “I opened the door and pushed her out. I was in the passenger seat and opened the door, and pushed her out. I don’t know if that’s illegal, but I’m being honest with you…”

Text messages show Williams texted her friends and former coworker, Chris Crawford, after it happened. State Prosecuting Attorney Amanda Johnson testifies Williams messaged Crawford, “[Osborn] had thrown her by the throat.”

“The officers at the hospital that observed Valerie and photographed her, and they photographed her neck. There were scratches on her neck that were new that corroborate what she said happened. He grabbed her by the throat and pushed her out of the vehicle.”

“He pushed his pregnant girlfriend and pushed her out of the vehicle.”

Both Osborn and Williams would make their way back to the Kelly Green apartment. Osborn tells police he arrived several minutes before Williams.

“So I got home, I lock the door, and I go to bed. I take my sleeping pill, then I hear somebody had come through my door. Nobody has a key to my house but me. So they came in, so I woke up a little panic-stricken.”

Osborn told the investigator Williams had come into their apartment unannounced and began arguing with Osborn.

He claimed Williams was attempting to use a small can of pepper spray on him, and when he tried to take it away, she fell backward and hit her head on the floor in the living room of the apartment.

“She’s yelling and screaming at me, and I start yelling and screaming at her. She pulls out her keys with her pepper spray on it to try and zing me with it. I go to grab it to take it away. She jerks, and when she jerks, she falls, and she hit the floor. Her head just bounced.

“Her head hit the floor, and I was like ‘Oh God.’”

Prosecutors and their witnesses would tell a different story.

A doctor testifying to Williams’ head injuries said her skull fracture was more consistent with what you would see following a high-speed motor vehicle accident and could not have been caused by a fall from a standing position.

“Right, I’ve never seen a liver laceration of this level from a fall from a standing height,” testified Matthew Simpson, one of Williams’ doctors at the hospital the night she died.

Prosecuting Attorney Amanda Johnson: “And were you able to determine a manner of death?”

Forensic Pathologist Carl Stacey testified to William’s manner of death, saying, “since it’s in multiple different areas, and there are injuries on other areas of the body, my opinion is it’s best classified as a homicide.”

The court was also shown crime scene photos of the apartment during the first day of the trial. The photos showed evidence of pepper spray droplets on the shower wall and toilet seat, as well as a keychain with the can of pepper spray laying in the bathtub. But in an attempt to raise doubt surrounding Derik’s responsibility for Valerie’s death – the defense would call Forensic Pathologist William Cox to the stand. He argued Valerie having meth in her system could have played a role in her death.

“The fact that Valerie Willams was on methamphetamine was not considered by anyone. It was not considered by the hospital, it was not considered by the pathologist doing the case that was a significant omission,” Cox claimed.

Day 3

The Verdict

On July 27th, 2021, Judge Calvin Holden would find Derik Osborn guilty of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree assault.

A Greene County judge has found Derik Osborn guilty on all counts for killing his pregnant
The judge also revoked his bond.

The Sentencing

Osborn would be back in court on October 29th, 2021, for sentencing.

Judge Calvin Holden handed down two life sentences to be served at the same time. Osborn could be released from prison in 2047 after serving the required 85% of his sentence.

Judge Holden told the court the evidence shows Osborn may not be dangerous to the public, but he is a danger to a partner.

“It’s obvious he was pretty dangerous because he killed someone. He didn’t do it by strangulation necessarily. He did it by slamming them up against a wall and around like a ragdoll. He also knew that she was pregnant and had no concern for her pregnancy, his child. So I would say he’s pretty dangerous.” – Judge Calvin Holden

OzarksFirst spoke with William’s parents Dan Buntin and Lisa Barnes outside the Greene County Courthouse following Osborn’s final hearing to date.

“We’re so glad we don’t have to come back to this building,” said Williams father Dan Buntin. “We’ve got justice for our daughter … It’s relief that he’s off the streets … He’s been out of prison, not locked up for four and a half years walking the streets trying to be a good guy and we knew better.”

“This is day we didn’t think would ever come,” said Williams mother Lisa Barnes. “It’s here and we got all we could get … Obviously never her and the baby but he got the full book thrown at him.”

“It’s every day that I deal with it,” “It’s been a rough four and a half years but we got our justice for our girl,” added Buntin.

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