Florida man Granville Ritchie, 40, is set to be sentenced in the first-degree murder of Felecia Williams, 9. He was also convicted Wednesday of charges including rape. The sentencing is expected to last through Thursday and Friday in a Hillsborough County courtroom. You can watch it in the player above.
Prosecutors said Ritchie and Eboni Wiley, a friend of Williams’ family, picked up the child on May 16, 2014. Authorities argued at trial that Ritchie sexually abused the victim while Wiley was out, killed the child, stuffed her body in a suitcase, and dumped this by the Courtney Campbell Causeway. He at first attempted to pass this off as the girl disappearing while out getting candy, authorities said.
Prosecutor Scott Harmon told jurors in closing arguments on Wednesday that the defendant manipulated Wiley, his mother, and others in trying to cover up the crime.
Defense lawyer Bjorn Brunvand said at closing arguments that there’s no evidence that the victim was raped. Apparent signs of sexual abuse might have happened while her body was exposed to the elements. He suggested that Wiley could’ve been the murderer and that she might have killed Williams while high on ecstasy.
This argument didn’t work on the jury.
— Law & Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) September 25, 2019
Nonetheless, Wiley does have her own legal problem to deal with. She faces an ongoing criminal case for allegedly lying to law enforcement in the early days of the investigation.
As for Ritchie, he faces the death penalty since he was convicted of murdering Williams. You can watch Wednesday’s guilty verdict here:
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]