Briana Winston death: Tennessee woman’s BF arrested for murder ‘looped’ his family to destroy evidence, cops say ‘there was evident malice’

Briana Winston death: Tennessee woman’s BF arrested for murder ‘looped’ his family to destroy evidence, cops say ‘there was evident malice’
Michale Edwards killed his girlfriend Briana Winston and his wife Brieanna Phillips-Edward helped to destroy evidence (Clayton County Police Department, Fox5 screengrab, Clayton County Police Department)

Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers’ discretion advised.

CLAYTON COUNTY, TENNESSEE: Investigators disclosed during a press conference on Monday, May 13, that a missing mother from Clayton County was strangled to death and subsequently burned in Tennessee by her boyfriend. 

Briana Winston, 23, was reported missing in early April. As the search for Winston unfolded, evidence accumulated, indicating that she had been the victim of homicide.

Following the discovery of her remains, the individual previously identified as a person of interest in Briana Winston's death has been apprehended for murder.

Michale Edwards was incarcerated at the Clayton County Jail on Thursday, May 9, and additionally charged with aggravated stalking.

Clayton County police say there was 'evident malice' behind murder

According to Fox5, Lt Ashanti Marbury of the Clayton County Police Department stated, "It wasn't a crime of passion; there was evident malice. There was intent present." 

Police reports indicate that Briana Winston was killed on March 17 following an early morning altercation with Michale Edwards over his purported infidelity. 

Winston was reportedly strangled to death. "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," Lt Marbury said.

Investigators unravel how Briana Winston was killed

According to authorities, Edwards proceeded to place her body in a suitcase and drove to a friend's residence in Gates, Tennessee. 

This individual aided Edwards in burning Winston's body in a burn barrel, utilizing a shovel to separate the woman's bones and expedite the process.

"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," Marbury further said.

Investigators assert that they pieced together this information with the cooperation of the accomplice who assisted Edwards. Prosecutors extended an immunity agreement to this individual. 

According to this informant, the duo subsequently disposed of Winston's remains in two separate locations.

After Winston's body was burnt, Edwards purportedly discarded a portion in a cemetery behind a church in Ripley, Tennessee, and another portion along Interstate 40 in Tennessee.

Michale Edwards instructs wife to destroy evidence against him

According to Clayton County police, during the investigation, Edwards was already in jail on an unrelated charge. He was caught on a jail call instructing his wife, Brieanna Phillips-Edwards, to dispose of a pair of shoes and gloves. 

Phillips-Edwards is now facing several charges, including being party to the commission of a crime - murder. Additionally, investigators have charged Edward's mother, Ebony Anderson, and his brother, Keilan Wright, with aiding in the destruction of evidence

Marbury remarked, "It turned into a family affair, he definitely looped everyone into this crime." 

Furthermore, Brieanna Phillips-Edward faces charges for providing false statements to the police and for supplying Edwards with a vehicle to transport Winston's body to Tennessee. 

Phillips-Edwards and Edwards reportedly married in a clandestine ceremony in January. Meanwhile, a Tennessee resident cooperated with the police under a proffer agreement, ensuring he won't face charges for assisting Edwards. 

Winston and Edwards have a four-year-old son together. Winston's family attended the press conference but declined to speak on camera. They, however, expressed gratitude for finally learning the truth about Briana's tragic end.

Share this article:  Briana Winston death: Tennessee woman’s BF arrested for murder ‘looped’ his family to destroy evidence, cops say ‘there was evident malice’