Granville Ritchie, the man accused of raping and murdering 9-year-old Felecia Williams in May, pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday.
Ritchie, 35, has been in jail since May 21, when he was arrested in St. Petersburg on unrelated drug charges.
Police said Ritchie and Eboni Wiley, a neighbor who described herself as a friend of Felecia’s family, picked the girl up from her East Tampa home and drove her to Ritchie’s Temple Terrace apartment on May 16. At some point, Wiley left Ritchie and Felecia alone while she went to buy marijuana, records show.
While she was gone, police said, Ritchie hit Felecia over the head, raped her and strangled her. Temple Terrace police said Ritchie hid her body in a suitcase until he could dump it in the waters near the Courtney Campbell Causeway, where the girl was found the next day.
Ritchie was formally charged with Felecia’s murder Aug. 15.