Georgia man accused of burning girlfriend’s body during argument over his secret marriage

Francis Akhalbey May 16, 2024
Michale Edwards (left) is accused of killing his girlfriend Briana Winston (right) -- Photos: Clayton County Police Department

Authorities in Georgia said a man fatally choked his girlfriend and the mother of his son after she got to know about his infidelity and secret marriage, PEOPLE reported. Authorities also said Michale Edwards then burned Briana Winston’s body in Tennessee.

“It was not a crime that was committed in the heat of passion, there was malice,” Clayton County Police Department Lieutenant Ashanti Marbury said at a news conference on Monday, per FOX 5 Atlanta. “There was some intent there.” 

Police said Edwards fatally strangled Winston on March 17 after they got into an argument over his alleged infidelity. The fatal incident happened at Winston’s apartment. The Clayton County Police Department in an initial statement said that Winston was first reported missing by her family members on April 1.

Authorities said she was reported missing by her family after they went to her apartment and noticed it had been “completely cleaned out by the father of her child and live-in boyfriend [Edwards].” Winston’s family subsequently went to her workplace, but they “found that she was scheduled to work on March 17, 2024, but never arrived.” The statement said evidence suggested Winston was deceased. 

“Edwards did go to Briana’s apartment during the early morning hours of March 17 and in an argument where she confronted him after learning about his infidelity to her, he choked her,” Marbury revealed.

In the wake of the fatal incident, police said Edwards, who shares a 4-year-old son with Winston, stuffed the victim’s body in a suitcase before putting her in a car and driving to a friend’s residence in Gates, Tennessee. The two individuals subsequently put Winston’s remains in a burn barrel and lit her on fire. They also expedited the victim’s burning by breaking her bones with a shovel, authorities said. 

“Together, the two men placed a suitcase inside of a burned barrel located behind the home, they doused it with accelerant, lit a fire, and they kept their fire burning from the early afternoon until nightfall,” said Marbury. 

Police said the man who helped Edwards burn his girlfriend later told them about their actions after he struck an immunity agreement with prosecutors. The man told authorities that he and Edwards later discarded Winston’s bones in two separate locations, FOX 5 Atlanta reported.

Authorities also said Edwards disposed of Winston’s body parts at a cemetery as well as on the Interstate 40 in Tennessee. Authorities later detained Edwards on a charge that was not linked to Winston’s murder. But during his detainment, authorities said he had a jail call with his wife where he allegedly told her to burn a pair of shoes and gloves. His wife, identified as Brieanna Phillips-Edwards, has since been charged in connection to Winston’s murder. Authorities said Edwards and Brieanna reportedly had a secret marriage in January. 

Besides his wife, authorities also fingered Edward’s mom as well as his brother in the victim’s killing. The pair – identified as Ebony Anderson and Keilan Wright – have been charged with helping destroy evidence. 

“It turned into a family affair,” Marbury said. “He definitely looped everyone into this crime.” Edwards faces a slew of charges including aggravated assault, malice murder, felony murder and tampering with evidence.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 16, 2024

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