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Brunswick Man Pleads Guilty in 2020 Death of his 63-year old Aunt
State v. William Edward Best

January 26, 2023

District Attorney Keith Higgins announces that William Edward Best, 39, of Brunswick, pled guilty to the crime of Felony Murder, pursuant to a negotiated guilty plea entered in Glynn County Superior Court on January 25, 2023. Sentencing in this case will be deferred until February 13, 2023.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred on December 23, 2020. At approximately 5:30 am, Brunswick Police and Fire Departments responded to a house fire at 1909 G Street in Brunswick. After the fire was extinguished, the body of 63-year old Lula Mae McDougler was found in the debris. An autopsy determined her cause of death to be smoke and soot inhalation; however, she had also suffered blunt head trauma due to an assault, as well as burns from the fire. The Brunswick Fire Department Fire Inspector determined the fire to have been an arson, with three different areas of origin for the fire.

The defendant, William Edward Best, 39, of Brunswick, who is also McDougler’s nephew, was immediately identified as a suspect in her murder. Earlier that morning, around 4 am, the two had gotten into a heated argument at another residence where a family member had to intervene to keep Best separated from his aunt.

Best came to the Brunswick Police Department later that day to be interviewed and investigators noticed blood on his shoes. That blood was later tested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab and was determined to be McDougler’s blood. Additionally, the victim’s blood was found on another item of his clothing. During questioning, investigators had Best remove his clothing to be taken as evidence and he made spontaneous statements that he had “killed the b—-, I killed her, I killed her.” All of this was recorded on video.

The case was scheduled for trial on February 13, 2023, however, the defendant entered a guilty plea on January 25th, to Felony Murder. He will be sentenced on February 13th to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Sentencing was deferred so that family members of McDougler could be present for sentencing and have the opportunity to address the Court.

In Georgia, life with the possibility of parole means that a person must serve 30-years before becoming eligible for parole. Eligibility does not mean a person is guaranteed parole.

Members of the media with further questions may contact the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office at 912-554-7200.