TAMPA, Fla. — Testimony began Friday in the murder trial for Granville Ritchie, and the first person to take the stand was the victim's mother.
- Opening statements to begin Friday in Granville Ritchie trial
- Granville Ritchie accused of killing Felecia Williams, 9, in 2014
- Police say Williams was raped, strangled
- Previous stories on 2014 murder case
It had been a long week for the family of 9-year-old Felecia Williams as they waited for a jury to be seated. They have also waited five years for this trail, as Williams was killed in 2014.
Police say Granville Ritchie raped and murdered Williams and placed her body in a suitcase and then left her by the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
"She loved people, she loved life, she loved animals and she most definitely loved her family," said Felecia Demerson, Williams' mother, who testified Friday.
The last time Demerson heard from her daughter was over the phone, asking if she could hang out with a family friend. She said yes.
Prosecutors say that friend took Williams to a Temple Terrace Apartment with Ritchie. They say Ritchie strangled the girl, raped her, put her body in a suitcase and threw it into the water near the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
One of the reasons seating the jury took so long was that it will have to determine Ritchie's fate if he is found guilty: life in prison or the death penalty.
All jurors must vote unanimously for someone to be sentenced to death.
The trial is anticipated to last about another two weeks.