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Ronald Lee WILLIAMS

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Leader of the “Miami Boys,” a drug-trafficking ring - Murders for hire
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: September 20, 1988
Date of birth: February 26, 1963
Victims profile: Derek Devan Hill, Michael Alfonso Douglass, Michael Anthony McCormack, and Mildred Jean Baker
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Shooting
Location: Escambia County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on June 21, 1991
 
 
 
 
 
 

DC# 076275
DOB: 02/26/63 

First Judicial Circuit, Escambia County, Case #90-3515
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Nicolas P. Geeker
Attorney, Trial: Randall J. Etheridge, Esq.
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Spiro T. Kypreos, Esq.
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Joseph McDermott, Esq. – Registry  

Date of Offense: 09/20/88

Date of Sentence: 06/21/91

Circumstances of Offense:

Defendant Ronnie Lee Williams was the leader of the “Miami Boys,” a drug-trafficking ring that ran from Miami to Pensacola. 

One of his Pensacola employees, Bruce Frazier, had just broken up with his girlfriend and was afraid that she would inform police about the drug ring.

Worried, Frazier and Michael McCormick, a street-level employee, moved a safe containing drugs and money from the apartment used by the drug ring to McCormick’s apartment. 

Shortly after the safe was moved, Williams called Frazier from Miami and instructed him to get the money that McCormick owed him.  Frazier went to McCormick’s apartment and was told by McCormick that both the money and the safe had been stolen, despite the absence of any visible signs of forced entry.  

On 09/18/88, Williams ordered three of his Miami-based employees – Timothy Robinson, Darrell Frazier (brother of Bruce Frazier), and Michael Coleman – to go to Pensacola to recover money and drugs stolen from McCormick. 

McCormick and Bruce Frazier met the three men from Miami at a hotel in Pensacola.  The five men obtained weapons from McCormick and broke into his neighbor’s apartment looking for the missing goods.  Darlene Crenshaw, Amanda Merrill, Derek Hill and Morris Alfonso Douglas were all inside the apartment when the men broke in. 

Mildred Baker, McCormick’s girlfriend, was brought in soon after.  The five men ordered Hill, Merrill, Douglas and Baker to undress and lie on the floor, where they were bound and gagged. The five men began interrogating them about the whereabouts of the safe. 

When no one would answer his questions, Robinson began stabbing Derek Hill.  Darlene Crenshaw spoke up that she knew where the safe was and that McCormick was involved in the theft.  After hearing this, the four men instructed McCormick to undress, and he was bound along with the others.  McCormick was then stabbed several times.   

Bruce and Darrell Frazier took Darlene Crenshaw to her apartment, where the safe, money and drugs were hidden.  The Frazier brothers recovered the stolen goods and returned to Hill’s apartment, leaving Crenshaw alive. 

Meanwhile at Hill’s apartment, Robinson and Coleman repeatedly raped Mildred Baker and Amanda Merrill.  They also stabbed and slashed McCormick, Hill, and Douglas. 

When the Frazier brothers returned, Robinson and Coleman began to kill the prisoners.  Amanda Merrill survived after having her throat slit several times and being shot in the head.  Douglas, Baker, Hill, and McCormick, were all pronounced dead at the scene.

Ronnie Lee Williams remained in Miami while the murders were carried out.  It was undisputed that he never stabbed or shot any of the victims himself.

Codefendant Information:

Michael Coleman was sentenced to death for his part in the murders.  Coleman was convicted of First-Degree Murder, Attempted Murder, Armed Kidnapping, Armed Sexual Battery, Armed Robbery, Armed Burglary and Conspiracy to Traffic. 

Bruce Frazier was convicted of Second-Degree Murder, Attempted Murder, Armed Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Armed Burglary, and Conspiracy to Traffic.  Frazier was sentenced to 30 years for Trafficking and 50 years for each of the other convictions.

Darrell Frazier was convicted and sentenced to life for First-Degree Murder, Second-Degree Murder, Armed Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, and Armed Burglary.  He was sentenced to 30 years for Second-Degree Murder and Conspiracy to Traffic.    

Timothy Robinson was sentenced to death for his part in the murders on 09/20/89.

Robinson was convicted of First-Degree Murder, Attempted Murder, Armed Kidnapping, Armed Sexual Battery, Armed Robbery, Armed Burglary and Conspiracy to Traffic.  

*****

Trial Summary:

07/24/90          The defendant was indicted on the following charges:

Count I: First-Degree Murder (Derek Hill)
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Morris Douglas)
Count III: First-Degree Murder (Michael McCormick)
Count IV: First-Degree Murder (Mildred Baker)
Count V: Attempted Murder (Amanda Merrell)
Count VI: Kidnapping (Derek Hill)
Count VII: Kidnapping (Morris Douglas)
Count VIII: Kidnapping (Michael McCormick)
Count IX: Kidnapping (Mildred Baker)
Count X: Kidnapping (Amanda Merrell)
Count XI: Kidnapping (Darlene Crenshaw)

05/10/91         The jury found the defendant guilty of all counts charged in the indictment.

05/11/91          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury voted for life imprisonment.

06/21/91          The defendant was sentenced as follows:

Count I: First-Degree Murder (Derek Hill) - Death
Count II: First-Degree Murder (Morris Douglas) - Death
Count III: First-Degree Murder (Michael McCormick) - Death
Count IV: First-Degree Murder (Mildred Baker) - Death
Count V: Attempted Murder (Amanda Merrell) - Life
Count VI: Kidnapping (Derek Hill) - Life
Count VII: Kidnapping (Morris Douglas) - Life
Count VIII: Kidnapping (Michael McCormick) - Life
Count IX: Kidnapping (Mildred Baker) - Life
Count X: Kidnapping (Amanda Merrell) - Life
Count XI: Kidnapping (Darlene Crenshaw) – Life

 * Williams was later resentenced to 30 years on Counts VI-XI, each count to run concurrent.

*****

Case Information:

On 07/10/91, Ronald Lee Williams filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  In that appeal, he argued that the trial judge erred by rebuking defense counsel’s attempt to impeach witness Darrell Frazier and by admitting evidence regarding two attempted murders in Jacksonville, which Williams allegedly ordered.  Williams also claimed that the trial court erred by allowing the State to peremptorily challenge a potential black juror solely on the basis of race.  The Florida Supreme Court found no merit to the claims Williams raised regarding the guilt phase.  Pertaining to the penalty phase, Williams claimed that the trial court erred in its application of several aggravating circumstances.  The Florida Supreme Court agreed that the avoid-arrest factor and the heinous, atrocious and cruel factor were unsupported by the record.  Lastly, Williams argued that the trial judge erred in overriding the jury recommendation of a life imprisonment. 

The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Williams’ convictions and sentence of death on 04/22/93.  Williams’ sentences for attempted murder and kidnapping were vacated and remanded with instructions that he be resentenced to 30 years on each count.

On 09/29/93, Williams filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United State Supreme Court that was denied on 11/29/93.

Williams filed a 3.850 Motion on 03/24/97, which was later denied on 01/10/05.

On 02/02/05, Williams filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  The appeal is currently pending.

On 08/31/05, Williams filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court.  The petition is currently pending.

FloridaCapitalCases.state.fl.us

 
 


Ronald Lee Williams

 

 

 
 
 
 
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