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Roy L. WILLIAMS

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: For no apparent reason, he would kill the first white man that he saw
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: 1991
Date of birth: December 26, 1964
Victims profile: James P. McDonnell / ???
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Massachusetts/Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in Pennsylvania on September 14, 1993
 
 
 
 
 

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

 

opinion J-141-1998

 
 
 
 
 
 

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. McDonnell.

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 County.

Williamsís 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 20, 1995.

A first 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.

A second 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.

On March 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.

Roy L. Williams, 39, is an inmate at the State Correctional Facility at Greene.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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