TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A man found guilty of killing and raping a 9-year-old girl and dumping her body near the Courtney Campbell Causeway learned his fate on Friday.
After hearing a number of witness impact statements, Judge Michelle Sisco sentenced Granville Ritchie to death for killing Felecia Williams in 2014. Ritchie was found guilty of killing Williams in Sept. 2019.
Williams was found dead on a pile of rocks near the Courtney Campbell Causeway on May 17, 2014. She was reportedly strangled to death.
Prosecutors told the jury there was “a mountain of evidence” linking Ritchie to the crime, including a 911 call the girl made from his home.
Investigators said a family friend, Eboni Wiley, brought the girl to Ritchie’s Temple Terrace home on May 16, 2014, and left her there while she went to buy marijuana. Wiley said Ritchie had told her that he let the child walk to a store to buy candy.
Prosecutors said Ritchie strangled the girl, put her body in a suitcase and left her near the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Sand and a mangrove leaf found in his car matched sand and leaves found near her body, authorities said.
After about four hours of deliberations, a jury found Ritchie guilty on all charges of first-degree murder, sexual battery and aggravated child abuse, and recommended the death penalty.
Lawyers for Ritchie said their client had suffered brain injuries from abuse during his upbringing and a motorcycle accident. A doctor testified that Ritchie had symptoms consistent with a traumatic brain injury, but Sisco said the court found the testimony of the state’s witnesses to be more “credible and persuasive.”
“There will be no corporeal redemption for you — your physical being, your person,” Sisco told Ritchie. “You will remain incarcerated until the state of your death is scheduled to occur.”
- VIDEO: Hillsborough deputies surprise 4-year-old on birthday who is battling cancer
- 1 dead in St. Petersburg house fire, investigation underway
- Race is on to find Great Lakes shipwrecks before quagga mussels destroy them
- Dolphins beat Broncos 70-20, scoring the most points by an NFL team in a game since 1966
- Woman drives 2 hours, shoots husband who wanted divorce