The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly. This information; however, is subject to change and may not reflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied upon for statistical or legal purposes.
WILLIAMS, RONNIE K. (B/M)
17th Judicial Circuit, Broward County Case # 93-3005CF10A
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Sheldon Schapiro
Attorney, Trial: Bruce D. Raticoff – Asst. Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Jeffrey L. Anderson – Asst. Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Roseanne Eckert – CCRC-S
Date of Offense: 01/26/93
Date of Sentence: 04/16/04
Circumstances of Offense:
Ronnie Keith Williams was found guilty of the 1993 stabbing of Lisa Dyke, which resulted in her death 19 days later.
On 01/25/93, Ronnie Williams and his girlfriend’s sister, Ruth Lawrence, had a disagreement at the apartment Ruth lived in with her son David and the victim, Lisa Dyke. After the fight, Stephanie Lawrence, Williams’ girlfriend, told Williams he was no longer welcome at either her or her sister’s home.
On 01/26/93, 911 operator Ilona Gerdner received an emergency call at approximately 8:30 a.m. from a distressed female caller who identified herself as Lisa Dyke. Gardner testified that the caller was begging for help because she had been stabbed. When she asked the victim who had stabbed her, Dyke’s response was a name that Gardner said sounded like “Rodney,” but she later identified the name as “Ronnie” when the tape was played back for her. Gardner dispatched Officers Gillespie and Costello who arrived within one minute at the apartment Dyke shared with Ruth and David. When the officers knocked, Dyke answered the door nude and bleeding from numerous wounds. The victim was more than seven months pregnant at the time of the attack. As paramedics treated her, Officer Gillespie questioned the victim as to who had assaulted her. Through the oxygen mask Dyke was wearing, Gillespie heard Dyke’s response as “Rodney.” When asked to clarify, Dyke answered “Ruth’s sister’s boyfriend” and gave him the telephone number of “Ruth’s sister.” Dyke also asserted that he had raped her, though hospital personnel were unable to perform a rape examination or collect evidentiary samples before she was rushed into surgery.
While processing the crime scene, Detective Cerat noticed no sign of forced entry but observed blood on the floor, dust ruffle, door, bedroom door (which contained a finger print), and found a bloodied knife found beside the victim’s bed. After Dyke was taken to the hospital, Cerat collected bloody clothing, lifted six prints from the crime scene, and sent them to the lab for identification.
At the hospital, Officer Jones showed Dyke a photo lineup and asked her if she could identify one of the persons in the lineup as her assailant. Dyke identified Ronnie K. Williams. Two days later, Jones photographed bite marks found on the victim’s body and these marks were compared with dental imprints taken from Williams. Forensic dentist Richard Souviron identified the photographs of the bite marks as matching those taken from Williams’ dental imprints. Fingerprint analyst Fred Boy testified that a fingerprint found in a red substance located on the bathroom door of Ruth’s apartment matched Williams’ left ring finger. DNA testing on blood samples taken from clothing in the apartment revealed a match to Williams’ DNA profile at four genetic locations. The frequency of finding the same profile in two unrelated individuals matching at these four points would be 1 in 120 million African-Americans.
The medical examiner noted that Lisa Dyke had been stabbed seven times, six of which were between one-quarter of an inch and one-half inch deep. The seventh stab wound was approximately four inches deep and had punctured her left lung. Lisa Dyke’s official cause of death on 02/14/93 was deemed to be multiple stab wounds that produced a fatally high level of toxicity in her body.
Prior Incarceration History in the State of Florida:
Prior Prison History: (Note: Data reflected covers periods of incarceration with the Florida Dept.of Corrections since January of 1983)
Prison Sentence Length
17Y 0M 0D
L/L, INDEC.ASLT CHILD U/16
2Y 0M 0D
03/04/93 Indicted as follows:
Count I: Murder in the First Degree
05/22/96 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment
07/02/96 Jury recommended death by a vote of 11-1
11/15/96 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: Murder in the First Degree – Death
03/01/04 Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment (RT)
03/01/04 Jury recommended death by a vote of 10-2 (RT)
04/16/04 Sentenced as follows (RT):
Count I: Murder in the First Degree – Death (RT)
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal
792 So.2d 1207
01/10/97 Initial appeal filed
07/21/01 Remanded to Circuit Court for new trial
07/24/01 Motion for Rehearing filed
08/24/01 Rehearing denied
09/24/01 Mandate issued
Florida Supreme Court – Direct Appeal (RT)
967 So.2d 735
05/17/04 Appeal filed
06/21/07 Disposition affirmed
07/05/07 Motion for Rehearing filed
10/18/07 Rehearing denied
11/05/07 Mandate issued
United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari
128 S.Ct. 1709
01/11/08 Writ filed
03/24/08 Petition denied
Circuit Court – 3.851 Motion
03/12/09 Motion filed
04/08/11 Motion amended
Factors Contributing to the Delay in Imposition of Sentence:
It took a little over a year and a half for the Florida Supreme Court to set a brief schedule for the initial brief for Williams’ second sentencing, due to a reconstruction of the record on appeal in the Trial Court.
On 01/10/97, Ronnie K. Williams filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court citing the following trial court issues: (1) the trial court reversibly erred in placing alternate juror Caril on the jury after deliberation had begun, (2) it was fundamental error to interfere with jury deliberations by removing juror Wallace without conducting an adequate inquiry that would justify such a removal, (3) appellant was denied due process and a fair trial by the trial court’s instruction placing undue prominence on the jury’s notes, (4) the trial court erred in failing to hold an adequate inquiry into the impact of defense counsel’s bipolar illness on appellant’s right to a fair trial, (5) the appellant did not waive his right to conflict-free counsel, and thus his rights under the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution were violated, (6) the appellant was un-represented by counsel during a crucial proceeding and thus his rights under the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution were violated, (7) the trial court erred in allowing into evidence that Lisa Dyke was pregnant where the probative value of such evidence was substantially outweighed by unfair prejudice, (8) the trial court erred by not being present during the testimony of a state witness*, (9) the trial court erred by instructing the jury on felony murder with sexual battery as the underlying felony and on the aggravating circumstance that the offense occurred during a sexual battery because there was insufficient evidence to prove sexual battery, (10) the trial court erred in denying appellant’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal because the state failed to prove the element of premeditation, (11) the prosecutor’s comments during closing argument deprived appellant of due process and a fair trial, (12) the trial court erred in permitting the state to introduce the hearsay statements made to Officer Gillespie, (13) the trial court erred in permitting the state to introduce hearsay statements made by Lisa Dyke during a 911 call and at the hospital, (14) it was fundamental error to constructively amend the indictment contrary to the Grand Jury Clauses of the Florida and United States Constitutions, (15) the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to proceed on a theory of felony murder when the indictment gave no notice of the theory, (16) the trial court erred in using indecent assault as the prior violent felony aggravating circumstance, (17) the sentence of death must be vacated and the sentence reduced to life where the trial court failed to make the findings required for the death penalty, (18) the death penalty is not proportionally warranted, (19) the trial court erred in allowing the evidence concerning the prior violent felony to become a feature of the case, (20) the trial court erred in finding that the killing was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, and (21) the jury instructions stating that the jury is to only consider mitigation after it is reasonably convinced of its existence is improper.
*During the presentation of evidence concerning bite marks found on the victim, the trial judge was sitting behind a screen and, although he could hear testimony, he could not see the slides, etc., that were being presented as evidence.
On 07/12/01, the Florida Supreme Court vacated the defendant’s convictions and sentences and remanded the case to the trial court. On 09/21/01, the Florida Supreme court issued a mandate for the case.
On 05/17/04, with regard to his retrial, Williams filed a Direct Appeal with the Florida Supreme Court citing the following trial court issues: (1) the trial court erred in admitting Lisa Dyke’s out-of-court statements into evidence, (2) the trial court’s departure from neutrality deprived appellant of due process and a fair trial, (3) the trial court erred in allowing the jury to use a transcript of the 911 tape created by the state that was not in evidence, (4) the trial court erred in allowing in evidence that Lisa Dyke was pregnant where such evidence was irrelevant and any relevancy was substantially outweighed by unfair prejudice, (5) it was fundamental error to submit a felony-murder case to the jury where the undisputed evidence refuted that the death occurred during the commission of a felony, (6) the trial court erred by instructing the jury on felony murder with sexual battery as the underlying felony and on the aggravating circumstance that the offense occurred during a sexual battery as there was insufficient evidence to prove sexual battery, (7) the trial court erred in admitting the conclusion that Lisa Dyke had been raped, (8) the trial court erred in denying appellant’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal because the state failed to prove the element of premeditation, (9) it was fundamental error to constructively amend the indictment contrary to the Grand Jury Clauses of the Florida and United States Constitutions, (10) the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to proceed on a theory of felony-murder when the indictment gave no notice of the theory, (11) it was reversible error to fail to give an instruction on the presumption of innocence as to felony murder, (12) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that it must reach a unanimous verdict finding of either premeditated or felony-murder in order to convict of murder in the first degree, (13) the appellant was denied his right to a reliable capital sentencing and due process by the failure to instruct that the fact-finder must determine beyond a reasonable doubt that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances, (14) that instructing the jury to determine whether sufficient mitigating circumstances exist that outweigh aggravating circumstances places a higher burden of persuasion on the appellant, violates the Eighth Amendment requirement that death be the appropriate punishment, and violates fundamental fairness and due process, (15) the trial court erred in finding that the killing was cold, calculated, and premeditated, (16) the sentence of death must be vacated and the sentence reduced to life where the trial court failed to make the findings required for the death penalty, (17) the jury instructions stating the jury is to only consider mitigation after it is reasonably convinced of its existence is improper, (18) the trial court erred in using indecent assault as the prior violent felony aggravating circumstance, (19) the trial court erred in finding that the killing was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, (20) the death penalty is not proportionally warranted, (21) Florida’s Death Penalty Statute is unconstitutional where one is eligible for the death penalty by being convicted for violating section 782.04 of the Florida Statutes, and (22) to determine whether Florida’s Death Penalty Statute is unconstitutional under Ring v Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002) or Furman v Georgia, 408 U.S. 238, 313 (1972).
On 06/21/07, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s disposition. On 07/05/07, Williams filed a Motion for Rehearing, which was denied on 10/18/07. On 11/05/07, the Florida Supreme Court issued a mandate.
On 01/11/08, Williams filed a Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. This petition was denied on 03/24/08.
On 03/12/09, Williams filed a 3.851 Motion in the Circuit Court. This motion is currently pending and was amended on 04/08/11.
Report Date: 03/17/08 AEH
Approved: 03/17/08 RM
Updated: 04/15/11 MJH