Tampa man accused of murdering 14-year-old had prior manslaughter conviction that was overturned

Two months after a 14-year-old girl was found shot to death on a Tampa road, authorities said they arrested the man behind the weapon, but provided little information on what evidence ultimately led to the suspect. The State Attorney also said the suspect was previously on trial for a second-degree murder change but was convicted on a less charge of manslaughter – which was eventually overturned.

During a press conference, the mother of Nilexia B. Alexander said the arrest of 44-year-old Ronny Walker brings her "some peace."

"First, I want to thank God for this day. I prayed and prayed," Ashley Alexander said, before bowing her head and crying at the lectern. "I prayed that this day will come, and we get him off the streets. Tampa police department detectives, I thank you all. I thank you for the bottom of my heart. The community. The tips. I thank you all. I thank everyone who was able to bring this person to justice. I thank you."

"It won’t bring my baby girl back," she added, "but it will bring me some peace that he is off the streets and a little bit of closure. This is just the beginning. This is our beginning."

Ronny Walker mugshot

Courtesy: Tampa Police Department

Walker's arrest was announced Thursday, following a joint effort between Tampa police detectives and the U.S. Marshals. 

The teen's body was found on Floribraska Avenue on May 6 and was identified as a runaway child from Temple Terrace. Before 4 a.m. that day, police responded to a 911 call about a young female on the ground. The witness reported hearing gunfire, investigators said. 

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Courtesy: Tampa Police Department

Walker faces a premeditated murder charge. Detectives linked Walker’s vehicle to the area at the time of Alexander’s death. Investigators say cellphone evidence also placed the victim inside Walker’s vehicle around the time of the homicide. Police said results from FDLE tested positive for the victim’s DNA. 

"The premeditated part is based on evidence that we have regarding what occurred that night during the incident," said Deputy Chief Calvin Johnson, adding that the agency will not provide further details on what led up to the charge. "From the evidence that we’ve gotten, so far, that led to the day, it led us to that charge of premeditation."

Deputy Chief Johnson said the case will be complicated and since it is an ongoing investigation, they did not want to release further information. Officials did not provide information on how Alexander and Walker knew each other.

State Attorney Andrew Warren said Walker was arrested for murder in 2009. He was convicted of manslaughter the following year, but his conviction was overturned on appeal.

"The reality is that most people who go through the criminal justice system don’t go to prison for life," Warren explained. "Had he been convicted back In 2010 of murder two then maybe it would’ve been different… Prosecution is complicated."

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Walker was released from prison in November 2021.