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“Justice for Jan” Lawsuit in Court

A hearing on a lawsuit involving the website ?Justice for Jan? and Texas Public Corruption was heard in District Court in Centerville Thursday, January 31. The Honorable District Judge Michael Davis presided. The case involves the death of Janice Lee Willhelm who died in 2010 and her husband Gerald Willhelm who passed away in 2017.

Problems began after Gerald Willhelm filed for probate of his wife?s will following her death. In her will, Jan Willhelm left her husband all of her property and specifically disinherited her adult children, Jennifer Davis and Howard Farmer.

Farmer and Davis filed suit to challenge the will. As part of their challenge, the children questioned the cause of their mother?s death which had been ruled a suicide by the Leon County Sheriff?s Department and the medical examiner.

With their challenge to the will, came the creation of a Facebook Group known as ?Justice for Jan?. The website questions the Leon County investigation into the death of Jan Willhelm, suggesting that she did not die of suicide, but rather was murdered by her husband.

A second website appeared and also became involved in the story. Together the sites assert a variety of allegations against Leon County officials and suggest a coverup took place in the investigation of Jan Willhelm?s death.

Enough controversy was created by the websites, along with complaints from Farmer and Davis, that the entire matter was then investigated by the Texas Rangers. At the completion of their investigation, the Texas Rangers confirmed that Jan Willhelm committed suicide. The case was also presented to a Leon County Grand Jury which did not find any wrong doing in Willhelm?s death.

Farmer and Davis continued to question their mother?s death and her will. Gerald Willhelm defended against the legal claims brought by Farmer and Davis until his death in 2017. Then Gerald Willhelm?s will was probated. His will left all his property, including what he received from his wife, to Christine Bain of Centerville with whom he attended church, and to another friend, Deidre Kyle of Crockett.

The websites continued to accuse county officials of covering up the real cause of the death of Jan Willhelm. They also suggested Bain may have masterminded the death of Jan Willhelm, had a romantic affair with Gerald Willhelm, and was a criminal and long-term drug user.

Because of what Bain states as outrageous lies that defame her, she filed against Farmer and Davis. Her suit states that she was libeled by Farmer and Davis through the websites and the false accusations have damaged her reputation and caused her the loss of her job.

According to Bain?s attorney, Jess Mason of Centerville and Houston, ?she finally had enough of the lies being told about her and the good people of Leon County on these websites. Christine Bain is going to stand up to the people spreading these lies.?

The hearing Thursday was a Motion to Dismiss brought by Attorney Carter Hampton of Fort Worth. Hampton is a new attorney in the case who appeared in court on behalf of Davis and Farmer after Bain filed her suit against them. The motion made was to dismiss the claim of Bain on the basis that the material published on the websites was Constitutionally protected free speech and, as such, was not defamation.

Judge Davis ruled in favor of Bain?s denying the motion to dismiss brought by Farmer and Davis, finding that the speech was not Constitutionally protected. The case will now proceed. A trial date has been set for September 23rd.

Bain is seeking relief and asking the court to declare that Janice Willhelm was not murdered by her husband and that no cover up took place in Leon County, and that Bain did not have an affair with Gerald Willhelm. Bain is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from Davis and Farmer.