Granville Ritchie: Florida man sentenced to death for raping and killing 9-year-old girl

A man has been sentenced to death for raping and killing a nine-year-old girl in Florida.

Granville Ritchie, 41, received the death penalty on Friday, nearly a year after a jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict.

Ritchie was convicted in September 2019, of first-degree murder, sexual battery and aggravated child abuse.

His lawyer, Bjorn Brunvand, had argued that Ritchie’s abusive and violent childhood and lack of prior criminal history should prevent him from being put to death.

Ritchie, 41, was dating 9-year-old Felecia Williams’ neighbour, Eboni Wiley, in May 2014, prosecutors said.

Ritchie and Wiley were babysitting Felicia one day and took her to his mother’s apartment.

Ritchie sexually assaulted and strangled her while Wiley went to buy marijuana, prosecutors said.

Ritchie then hid the girl’s body in a suitcase which he later threw into Tampa Bay harbour.

Wiley testified that Ritchie told her he had given Felecia money to buy sweets at a nearby shop, but she never returned.

She initially told police that the girl ran away but changed her story after Felecia’s body was found, officials said.

Wiley was charged with lying during a missing person investigation and is scheduled to face trial next month.