On January 31, 1992,
Roy Williams was convicted of first-degree murder and possession of
an instrument of crime in connection with the shooting death of James P.
The murder took place
while Williams and three acquaintances were walking on Foulkrod Street
after playing video games at an arcade on Mulberry Street. After
McDonnell turned onto Foulkrod Street, Williams reached into his coat
for a gun and repeatedly shot him in the head, chest and leg.
At the trial, one
witness said he and Williams were "getting high" earlier that day at a
friendís house when the suspect said he wanted to kill the "first white
dude" he saw. After the shooting, the witness said Williams returned to
the same house and bragged of shooting a "white boy."
The other two witnesses,
girls who were just 12 and 14 years old, told similar stories on the
stand. One testified that Williams told her he was recently released
from prison, then vowed to "kill the first white man he saw."
Following a three-day
trial in January 1992, a jury convicted Williams of first-degree murder.
Williams fled to Massachusetts where he committed an additional murder
and other crimes before being captured and returned to Pennsylvania to
be tried for McDonnell's murder. On September 14, 1993, Williams was
sentenced to death.
Williams had been
convicted for robbery three times and in the Massachusetts cases he was
convicted of manslaughter, and in a separate incident, armed robbery and
assault and battery.
As a juvenile, records
show that Williams had threatened his mother with a knife, broken
household furniture, acted sadistically toward the family dog and
assaulted his sister on three occasions, one requiring hospitalization.
Governor Rendell signs execution warrant
Harrisburg: Governor Edward G. Rendell today signed a warrant
for execution by lethal injection of Roy L. Williams of Philadelphia
execution is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005.
On January 31, 1992, Williams was
convicted of first-degree murder and possession of an instrument of
crime in connection with the shooting death of James P. McDonnell.
On September 14, 1993, Williams was sentenced to death. The
Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of sentence on June
warrant was issued on October 11, 1995. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court
stayed the execution pending the disposition of Williamsí certiorari
petition with the United States Supreme Court. Certiorari was denied on
January 8, 1996.
warrant was issued on February 2, 1996. The Court of Common Pleas of
Philadelphia County stayed Williamsí execution for 90 days, providing
time for resolution of his Post Conviction Relief Appeal (PCRA)
proceedings. The stay was lifted on May 12, 1996.
31, 1997, the lower court denied Williamsí PCRA petition. On appeal, the
state Supreme Court affirmed the denial in part, reversed in part and
remanded the case to the lower court for further proceedings. On. August
10, 2001, the Court of Common Pleas again denied Williamsí PCRA petition.
The State Supreme Court affirmed the denial on April 1, 2004. Reargument
was denied on May 25, 2004.
Williams, 39, is an inmate at the State Correctional Facility at Greene.