On November 15, 2021, Semmie Lee Williams stabbed Ryan Rogers, 14, multiple times while he was riding his bike near his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Around 6:40 p.m. on November 15, 2021, Ryan Rogers left his house on his bike. When he did not arrive home by 10:30 p.m., his mother, Cindy Rogers, reported him missing.
On November 16, 2021, Ryan’s remains were found in a wooded area about 24 feet from the sidewalk on Central Boulevard, near the Interstate 95 overpass. Police found his bike and a pair of headphones at the scene.
Ryan was stabbed multiple times in the face and head.
Police discovered the headphones found did not belong to Ryan. Investigators were able to retrieve DNA from them and ran in through CODIS. A hit came back; the DNA belonged to Semmie Lee Williams Jr.
Police tracked Ryan’s phone, which indicated he crossed the interstate 95 overpass around 7:30 p.m. His phone stopped movement at 7:31 p.m. Through video surveillance, police identified Williams Jr., who was walking towards Ryan on the same side of the sidewalk. According to court documents, their paths would have crossed at the same time Ryan’s phone stopped moving.
Police tracked Williams Jr. to Miami, Florida on November 26, 2021. Police searched his bag and found a bandana that appeared to have blood on it. DNA testing revealed that the stain was a mixture of blood that belonged to both Williams Jr. and Ryan.
According to news outlets, Williams Jr. has a history of being violent. In 2005, his mother took a restraining order out on him. He had beaten her up and threatened to kill her.
In 2016, Williams Jr. was arrested for attacking an “elderly man” for no reason. He was held in a psychiatric facility for 4 years; he was released in 2020.
Arrest & Charges
On December 1, 2021, Semmie Lee Williams Jr. was charged with first degree murder and is being held without bond in the mental health wing of the Palm Beach County Jail. He is receiving psychiatric treatment.
While being arrested, an officer asked if he understood the charges against him. Williams Jr. replied, “Yes, murder and that’s what they get for giving Black people syphilis.” He then said, “Yeah, I killed that motherf****r and I’ll kill you too.” He was charged with threatening a public official.
Williams had two competency exams with two different psychologists; both found him competent to stand trial. His defense lawyer is arguing that both psychologists are wrong, and Williams Jr. is not competent to stand trial. His argument was that the psychologists did not have all the information needed to make a definitive ruling. It was not stated what this information was. His lawyer has stated that Williams Jr. is diagnosed with schizophrenia and has a long history of mental illness.
Williams Jr. has another competency hearing set for May 27, 2022, where a judge will make the final ruling on his competency.
If found competent, Williams Jr. faces the death penalty.