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Prosecutors seek death penalty for Semmie Lee Williams

Semmie Lee Williams booking photo (Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office)
Semmie Lee Williams booking photo (Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office)
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The state has filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Semmie Lee Williams Jr.

Williams is charged with killing Palm Beach Gardens teen Ryan Rogers, who was out riding his bike in November.

Williams appeared in court Friday on an additional charge. Williams is accused of making a threat toward a public official.

The new charge stems from a scuffled with a deputy at the jail while Williams was being booked for Rogers’ murder.

According to the probable cause affidavit from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Williams was being fingerprinted in the booking area of the main detention center on Dec. 2 when a deputy asked him if he was aware of the charges already against him.

The statement reads,

“Inmate Williams responded with, ‘Yes, murder, and that’s what they get for giving Black people syphilis.’ Inmate Williams then raised his voice and stated, ‘Yeah, I killed that m__________r and I’ll kill you too. Are you the m___________g judge?’”

It goes on to say Williams tensed up his left hand and began to pull away from the deputy and walk away. Then, the deputy came from behind Williams and placed his arms around his midsection.

Williams attempted to evade the deputy by shifting his weight forward and to his right. The deputy responded by taking Williams to the ground face first.

That’s when a sergeant nearby called for emergency help over the radio.

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Williams resisted the deputy’s efforts to handcuff him by keeping his hands at his sides. Another deputy responded to the area and gave Williams verbal orders to stop resisting and to place his hands behind his back.

The first deputy pulled Williams’ left hand behind his back and handcuffed his left wrist. The second deputy ordered inmate Williams to place his right hand behind his back, and Williams complied.

The first deputy was able handcuff Williams’ right wrist.

Williams was bleeding from his facial area for making contact with the ground.

Pictures released by the sheriff's office show Williams with a cut above his right eye and small bloody abrasions around his nose and mouth.

The report also said Williams stated, "I was going to beat you’re a__ if they didn't help.”

Deputies wrote the incident was captured on surveillance video, which was entered into evidence.

Williams is now charged with corruption by threat against the public official.

He was described as a "homeless drifter" from Miami who has a long criminal history.

His next court date is scheduled for Feb. 28.

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