Death penalty for family friend’s ‘love interest’ who raped & strangled 9-year-old girl dumped in bay

On Friday, a Florida judge sentenced a man to death for the 2014 rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl.

Granville Ritchie, 41, was convicted of first-degree murder, sexual battery, and aggravated child abuse in connection with the death of Felecia Williams. Williams’ nude body was found in a bay near the Courtney Campbell Causeway a day after she vanished from Ritchie’s mother’s Temple Terrace apartment.

“The child victim suffered a horrendous, physically painful, psychologically torturous death,” Hillsborough Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco told Ritchie while wiping away tears, according to WTVT.

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Williams was left in the care of Eboni Wiley, a neighbor and family friend who had met Ritchie a few days earlier. Wiley allegedly left Williams alone with Ritchie at Ritchie’s mother’s apartment while she bought marijuana.

Wiley reportedly returned 50 minutes later and Williams was nowhere to be found. Ritchie claimed he had given Williams money to buy candy at a CVS store and she had not returned, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Ritchie is believed to have raped and strangled Williams while Wiley was gone. He apparently stashed the girl’s body in a suitcase and later that evening, drove her body to the Courtney Campbell Causeway and dumped her.

Wiley initially told police that Williams left while she and Ritchie had sex in a bedroom. However, she admitted she lied after the girl’s body was found, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

Wiley, who testified during Ritchie’s murder trial, was charged with lying during a missing person investigation. Her trial is scheduled to begin next month.

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[Featured image: Granville Ritchie, Felecia Williams/WTVT video screengrab]