Update – September 25, 4:36 p.m.: The defendant was found guilty. Learn more here.
A Florida man is on trial in the alleged murder of 9-year-old Felecia Nicole Williams. Granville Ritchie, 40, is charged with first-degree murder, rape and sexual battery, and aggravated child abuse. If convicted, he faces a possible death sentence. Court is being held in Hillsborough County. You can see proceedings in the player above.
Prosecutors say the defendant abused and murdered Williams while she was in the care of family friend Eboni Wiley. He concealed the body in a suitcase and dragged out of the residence, police said. The victim’s body was found nude, floating face-down by the Courtney Campbell Causeway bridge, authorities said.
Wiley, a friend of Williams’ family, is charged in a pending case for providing false information to law enforcement during a missing person investigation.
TODAY: Jury selection in the death penalty trial of #GranvilleRitchie. Ritchie is charged with the 2014 rape and murder of 9-yr-old Felecia Williams. We expect jury selection to take 2-3 days. Once a jury has been selected WATCH LIVE on https://t.co/T3pSompuAs pic.twitter.com/zjAx1jpz04
— Law & Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) September 9, 2019
According to the criminal report affidavit obtained by Law&Crime, Ritchie and Wiley picked up Williams on May 16, 2014. They traveled to a home in Temple Terrace. The defendant was alone with the victim starting at about 4:50 p.m., and this continued about an hour and 10 minutes, authorities said.
Wiley allegedly said she left the apartment at about 4:50 p.m. and returned at 6 pm. Ritchie allegedly met her at the door. He was shirtless, sweating, and upset, telling Wiley in this account that Williams had run away.
The thing is, cops claim that Ritchie had told them that he was having sex with Wiley in another room in the apartment, and the pair emerged after only to discover that Williams had left.
According to the affidavit, Wiley admitted to cops that the defendant’s version of events was a story the pair agreed to tell investigators.
Williams was reported missing just after 10 p.m, authorities. Cops said they found evidence to corroborate Wiley’s claim that she left the apartment between 4:50 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The victim was discovered on May 17, 2014. She had been fatally strangled, and had received blunt force trauma to the head before death, authorities said. She had also been sexually assaulted.
All told, cops said Ritchie had possessed two almost identical suitcases. One remained at his vehicle. The other was used in his alleged attempt to discard of the body. Authorities said a broken suitcase wheel was left behind on the rear patio, and wheel marks were left on the carpet leading to the patio. A broken zipper pull was left near the wheel marks on the carpet in the residence, cops said. These items were of the same brand and color as the case found in the vehicle, investigators said. Witness statements indicate that Ritchie had two different sizes of the same black suitcases, cops said.
Plant material and soil found on his vehicle were also consistent with the area where Felecia Williams’ body was found, cops said.
Update – September 13, 12:13 p.m.: Added trial detail that Felecia Nicole Williams was found floating face-down in the water.
[Mugshot via Hillsborough County]