Murder suspect's pricey expert witness request granted

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Almost three years ago, 9-year-old Felcia Williams' body was found floating in the Tampa Bay.

Now, the man accused of her murder has been granted his request for pricey experts to testify on his behalf, but with taxpayers footing the bill, a judge first had to be convinced of the necessity. 

Prosecutors say Ritchie molested and killed Felicia while she visited with Ritchie's then-girlfriend, Eboni Wiley. They say Ritchie hid her body in a suitcase and dumped it in the Tampa Bay. The body was found floating along the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

Granville Ritchie's attorney Bjorn Brunvard aims to challenge the prosecution's claims with his own array of experts. Several months ago, he explained why an expert on tides is necessary for his client to have a fair trial.

"Where the body may have been dropped off, over the causeway, and the drift pattern over the time the body is in the water," Brunvard said. "It ranges from archeology experts, botanists, people from NOAH to talk about the currents and the wind and speculate as to where the body was put into Tampa Bay, and where it was recovered."

The judge approved all the experts the defense wanted, plus a trip to Ritchie's homeland of Jamaica - to interview family, friends even his grade school teachers. It will be an expensive defense, but the judge says it's necessary since prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Felecia's mother, Felecia Demerson has waited nearly three years for justice. She finds all of it frustrating. She recently told FOX 13 News Ritchie deserves the same sentence he handed her daughter. 

"For the justice system to have some type of leniency for child killers is not fair. She didn't have a choice. She didn't ask to die," said Demerson.

Ritchie is scheduled to be back in court in April. The trial is still about a year away.