"May God have mercy on your soul, Mr. Ritchie," the judge told Granville Ritchie after delivering her sentence

By Harriet Sokmensuer
September 14, 2020 03:50 PM
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Felecia Williams

A Florida man has been sentenced to death for the 2014 rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl left in his care.

On Friday morning, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco sentenced Granville Ritchie to death for the May 16, 2014, murder of 9-year-old Felecia Williams, report Fox13, WWSB and the Tampa Bay Times.

In September 2019, Ritchie was found guilty of first-degree murder, sexual battery and aggravated child abuse. The jury recommended the death penalty.

"The child victim suffered a horrendous, physically painful, psychologically torturous death," Sisco said in court on Friday.

On the night of her murder, Felecia, who was known to her family as “Sugar Plum,” was left alone with Ritchie at his Temple Terrace apartment by a woman who was supposed to be watching her. The woman, Eboni Wiley, testified that even though she had only known Ritchie for several days, she left Felecia with him to go buy some marijuana.

Later that night, a 911 call was made on Ritchie’s phone that only lasted a few seconds. Prosecutors believe it was Felecia calling for help.

Granville Ritchie

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During Friday's hearing, Felecia's mother addressed the court, calling for Ritchie's death.

Sisco addressed the grieving mother, telling her, "I've thought long and hard about what I was going to say to you. First, I am in awe of your bravery and your tireless advocacy for your daughter. And the fact that you were able to sit through this trial with the horrific facts. You're a better, stronger woman than I am. That is true.

"I think most parents have a moment when a child runs away from them, they can't find a child, a call or text message goes unanswered for a period of time. Each parent has that sick feeling of dread that something happened to their child.

"For most parents, that moment passes but for a few unfortunate ones, it doesn't. Instead, it becomes a first step of a never-ending nightmare you never wake from. My heart breaks for you."

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.