Riley found guilty
Published 4:12 am Sunday, December 16, 2001
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
An Atmore man was found guilty Wednesday of the murder of his girlfriend on New Year's Eve of last year.
MacGregory Riley, 32, was arrested for murder after Atmore police officers found his girlfriend, Jomika Williams, dead of stab wounds.
An attempt was made by Riley's defensive team to move the trial to another district due to pre-trial publicity. However, the case remained in Escambia County.
The trial lasted one day and the jury came back with its guilty verdict on Wednesday.
Prosecutors Steve Billy and Reo Kirkland worked on the case for the district attorney's office and the Escambia County Domestic Violence Crime Unit.
"We were very pleased with the verdict," Billy said. "We feel it is a good verdict for the state."
The murder, which took place in Atmore, was investigated by the Atmore Police Department.
APD Chief Danny McKinley said at the time of the murder that the police received a call on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 31, from 911 dispatch. He said Riley called the emergency number and stated that he had killed his girlfriend. The call came from an apartment at 298 Jack Springs Road.
"When (the officer) arrived, he knocked on the door and was invited in," McKinley said. "Riley did not answer the door but called out to the officer to come in. A female was on the living room floor with a knife sticking out of her chest."
Officers took Riley into custody and investigators at the scene felt Williams had been dead for some time.
Billy said the state's case against Riley was clear, despite the sometimes gruesome evidence that was entered.
"It was a gruesome murder and it was gruesome in the way of evidence. In that respect it was a hard case," he said. "But, it was a very straight-forward case."
Billy said the penalty for the charge of murder could bring Riley a sentence of up to 99 years or life, but no less than 10 years.
Riley is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 12.
On the morning that the APD discovered the murdered body and Riley was placed into custody, he told investigators that he had taken 150 Tylenol tablets. Police halted the interview and transported Riley to the Atmore Community Hospital. He was later transferred to the University of South Alabama Medical Center where he was treated and then transported to the Escambia County Jail.
The Escambia County Domestic Violence Crime Unit is sponsored by the district attorney's office, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and the Escambia County Commission. It is funded through a matching grant through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.