Homeless Man Charged in Boy’s ‘Unprovoked’ Murder Found Competent for Trial

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
April 8, 2022Updated: April 8, 2022

A Florida homeless man was deemed competent to stand trial in the murder of a 14-year-old boy.

Two psychologists testified that Semmie Williams, a 39-year-old vagrant with a lengthy criminal record, is capable of assisting his defense and can understand the proceedings against him, according to Fox35 Orlando.

Williams’s mental health evaluations were carried out by Dr. Adam White and Dr. Stephen Alexander. White confirmed to the Palm Beach Post that he and Alexander conducted the evaluation of Williams, but they cannot discuss their findings without getting a court order.

Williams is alleged to have stabbed Ryan Rogers in an unprovoked attack in Palm Gardens on Nov. 15 while the boy was riding his bike, officials said. He was charged with first-degree murder, and under Florida law, he’s eligible for the death penalty.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Ryan’s family, raising around $120,000.

Williams’s attorney, Scott Pribble, said in February that his client cannot “meaningfully participate” or “aid counsel.”

The suspect’s “competency to proceed has been the subject of extensive litigation in a previous criminal case, and he was ultimately adjudicated competent to proceed in that case only after a lengthy hospitalization,” Pribble wrote in February.

A court filing in the case said that Williams is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail’s mental health ward and is receiving psychiatric treatment, CBS12 reported.

Fred Susaneck, a defense lawyer who isn’t involved in the case, told the Post that “competency to stand trial doesn’t mean you’re not crazy” and “just means you can assist your counsel and help in your defense.” Susaneck noted that his lawyers could still use an insanity defense.

In the case, investigators said that Williams killed Rogers at around 7:30 p.m. when they crossed paths under an Interstate 95 overpass in Palm Beach Gardens, local media reported. Surveillance footage near the scene appears to show a man that officials suspect is Williams approaching an area near Central Boulevard, the same location where police recovered Ryan’s body.

Officials said they discovered Ryan’s blood on a bandana that was in Williams’s possession when he was arrested. His DNA was found on Ryan’s headphones.

Court filings also claimed that Williams later admitted to a jail guard that he killed Ryan and added “I’ll kill you, too,” FOX35 Orlando reported. He is also alleged to have called a guard a “white devil.”

A YouTube account that is believed to have belonged to Williams included videos of him incoherently ranting. In a number of videos, Williams alleged that he is being “gangstalked” and is being harassed by police, secret police, and others. Some others alleged that he is the victim of “racism.”