In “Dateline: A Cool Desert Morning” on NBC News, the complicated death of Susan Winters is explored in depth. The 48-year-old woman was found in her bed in January 2015 and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Authorities decided she killed herself based largely on what her husband, Gregory Brent Dennis, told them. But Danny and Avis Winters, Susan’s parents, didn’t believe her. So if you want to know what happened when they tried to get justice, we’ll tell you.
The winters are Danny and Avis
In March 1966, in Altus, Oklahoma, Danny and Avis Winters gave birth to a child named Susan. At this point, the couple already had a son named Christopher. Susan worked as an attorney in Oklahoma for a time before moving to Nevada to work for the Clark County District Attorney’s office. After that, in August 1995, Susan married Gregory Dennis. They had two daughters who were teenagers at the time of the incident.
But when the couple got a call that Susan had killed herself, everything changed for the better. The initial examination revealed that she had died from taking too much antifreeze and oxycodone. But Danny and Avis weren’t sure if that was the right answer. “She had two daughters,” Danny said. She loved her more than anything. If she wanted to kill herself, she wouldn’t have done it in front of those girls, and it wouldn’t have taken her 24 hours to do it.
Avis was not happy with the way the authorities were handling the case. He said, “We were disappointed in the legal system, we were disappointed that those responsible did not read the evidence before them, we were disappointed that the Henderson Police Department did not investigate, and the Clark County Coroner’s Office only accepted what Brent told them.” So the family hired a private investigator and a lawyer to investigate the situation.
The couple also said that Susan was not suicidal before her death. When she headed to Oklahoma in December 2014, she appeared to be in good spirits. The parents also said she’s looking forward to a busy 2015 and plans to travel to see their youngest daughter cheerleading. Susan was also glad that her older daughter was going to college.
This led to much new information being found, all pointing to Gregory as the person who killed Susan. The investigation revealed that he was using drugs and had lied about his whereabouts on the night of the incident. Also, on the first workday after Susan’s death, George asked about life insurance. In May 2022, Danny and Avis’ persistence paid off when Gregory was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
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Where are Danny Winters and Avis Winters right now?
Danny and Avis were happy to finally get what was coming, but were sad not to be able to talk to their granddaughters. Avis said in court: “As if losing Susan wasn’t bad enough, we also lost relationships with her daughters because we never thought this case was anything other than a murder case. Sometimes the sadness is unbearable, but we know that God is in charge and that he will do justice to Susan in the end.
Danny and Avis made money by running several Sonic Drive-In restaurants in Oklahoma and Texas. Danny said his daughter was excited about the idea of becoming an attorney for the family business. He also said they would make her an office in Nevada. It appears the couple reside in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and are also responsible for the nonprofit Winters Family Foundation.
An Oklahoma City couple who didn’t believe their daughter killed herself two years ago is now waiting for her husband to stand trial. He was recently arrested in connection with her death.
They put a picture of their daughter in an ad in The Oklahoman on Tuesday, which would have been her 51st birthday.
On January 3, 2015, just before 7 a.m., law enforcement officers and medical personnel were dispatched to the home of Susan Winters, a 48-year-old attorney who went to the University of Oklahoma, became an attorney and moved to Nevada to work for the DA’s office Clark County in Las Vegas.
They found Winters in the home she shared with her husband, Gregory Brent Dennis, a 54-year-old psychologist who grew up in Blanchard and played defensive back for the University of Tulsa from 1980-83. Winters wasn’t moving, nor was he breathing. The couple had been married for 19 years and had broken up at least once. They had two daughters who they raised.
A Henderson Police Department arrest statement says Dennis told first responders she was depressed and threatened to kill herself while they were trying to save Winter’s life.
According to the statement, Dennis thought his wife might have been on antidepressants and antifreeze. Winters was taken to a nearby hospital after medical staff were able to find her pulse. She is said to have died later.
Officially, the Clark County Coroner’s Office said Winters, a Blanchard High School graduate, killed herself by mixing prescription pain relievers and antifreeze that contain the toxic ingredient ethylene glycol.
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Dennis later told police that he and Winters had been drinking all day the previous day and he thought his wife put anxiety medication in her drinks. A detective found searches of the family computer related to antifreeze consumption.
Her parents, Avis and Danny Winters, who own several Sonic Drive-Ins, didn’t think their daughter, who was a part-time judge in North Las Vegas, would kill herself.
She didn’t leave a suicide note. The arrest report states that there were no medicine bottles in her bedroom and no antifreeze bottles in the bedroom or in the house. Later that day, Dennis thought the antifreeze might have been left behind by the last person who lived there. According to the report, he went into the garage and showed a detective two bottles of antifreeze. He said he found her when he got home from the hospital.
In the months following their daughter’s death, Dennis’ parents worried about their son-in-law and hired private investigators to find him. Pushing for law enforcement to reinvestigate the case, the couple also sued Dennis, blaming him for their daughter’s death and saying he did it for money. They wanted to get back the $2 million in life insurance and inheritance money he received after Winter’s death.
Avis Winters said, “We were disappointed with the legal system, disappointed that those responsible did not read the evidence before them, disappointed that the Henderson Police Department did not investigate, and disappointed with the Clark County Coroner who simply believed what.” Brent told them.”
Dennis found out in August that a grand jury was investigating something he had done. In December, Henderson police went to Dennis’ home and clinic in Boulder City with search warrants. In the grand jury investigation, prosecutors began calling witnesses.
At 7:30 a.m. on February 2, Dennis was arrested at a traffic stop near his home on suspicion of outdoor murder with a deadly weapon. Winters’ parents say the arrest was because they didn’t give up, even though the case was closed shortly after their daughter’s death.
Avis Winters said, “Nobody cared, and that’s because my husband Danny and I knew Susan wouldn’t.”
She was born on March 14, 1966 in Altus, Oklahoma. She played softball for Blanchard High School, which won the 1983 Class 3A state softball title.
Winters went to OU and earned a degree in Political Science. He then went back to school there to study law. She was an Oklahoma City attorney for a short time before moving to Nevada and getting a job with the Clark County Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas. She later went into private practice and became a part-time judge.
After the two divorced, Winters married Dennis in August 1995. In the spring of 2002 they had two daughters.
Winters often returned to Oklahoma to see family and friends. She was known to love her family, good books and Elvis Presley. Her mother said that she likes to walk a lot and that she is a quick learner. Before her death, she worked as an attorney for the family business, Winters Restaurant Group.
Her family said she is full of life and cares deeply for her children, but her marriage to Dennis is falling apart. In 2013, they separated and Dennis moved out of the house while they were discussing a divorce. Winters turned to licensed professionals for help. In the end, the couple got back together.
In his arrest report, Police Officer Ryan Adams said Winters was diagnosed with depression and anxiety by a psychiatrist. Friends said Winters spoke about suicide from time to time, but he never did anything about it. Family and friends said Winters was in high spirits shortly before her death around Christmas 2014.
According to the arrest statement, on October 14 and 15, 2014, a furious Winters told a group of friends that Dennis was either having an affair or was gay because he didn’t want to have sex with her.
After Winter’s death, her parents hired a retired FBI special agent and a licensed private investigator to find Dennis. The agent and other investigators observed Dennis 15 times between January 9 and March 27, 2015.
Investigators saw Dennis go to a hotel four times and meet with a convicted drug dealer named Jeffrey Crosby. They also saw Dennis sitting in his own car with his head down and rubbing his nose, which “consistent with a drug user,” Adams wrote. The arrest report states that the same behavior happened from August 18 to September 4, 2015.
According to the statement, Dennis’ phone records show that his phone and Crosby’s phone made more than 3,900 calls in the 13 months leading up to February 2015, almost a month after Winter’s death.
Adams said in his report that an investigation into Crosby in July 2016 led to his arrest for cocaine trafficking and that he often gave the drug to Dennis. Dennis didn’t mind telling the Winters family about his “recreational” drug use, and he even asked some of them about their prescription medications, Adams wrote.
Dennis is said to have been taking painkillers written for him by his own patients. Adams says when Dennis was caught he had three painkillers in the right front pocket of his pants.
“Denni’s family and friends knew he was a drug addict,” Adams wrote in his arrest statement.
Avis Winters said Dennis knew he was going to lose everything.
“I think Susan found out that Brent was using her money to buy drugs,” Winters said. “Susan said she would report him to the psych board and he would lose his license. He didn’t want that to happen and he wanted her money.”
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