TAMPA, Fla. — The death penalty will be sought in the case against the man accused of shooting and killing 14-year-old Nilexia Alexander earlier this year in Tampa, according to court documents filed by state prosecutors.
Ronny Walker, 44, is currently facing a first-degree murder charge for Alexander's death. The state filed its notice of intent to seek the death penalty on Sept. 16, court documents show.
Nilexia's mom Ashley Alexander says her whole family wants the death penalty. She says the biggest question she is left with is why someone would do this to her little girl.
“To take a babies life, you have to be heartless," Alexander said.
Nilexia was reported missing from her home in Temple Terrance and her body was later found just before 4 a.m. on May 6 beside the road on West Floribraska Avenue near North Highland Avenue in Tampa.
“What could she have done so bad for him just to shoot her? She was just a baby," Alexander said.
Alexander says she thinks about her daughter every single day.
“She would have been in high school, she didn’t get the chance to make it," she said.
It would take Tampa police several months to track down the accused gunman, but on July 7, police the department said Walker was arrested.
Detectives said they were able to connect Walker's car to the car that was in the area when Nilexia was murdered. In addition to his car, police said they found cell phone evidence that placed Alexander inside Walker's car around the time of the deadly shooting.
DNA results from his car are said to match Nilexia.
"I want to thank God for this day. I prayed and prayed that this day would come that we’d get him off the streets," the teen's mother said through tears during a press conference following Walker's arrest. "It won’t bring my baby girl back, but it will give me some peace that he’s off the streets and a little bit of closure."
When Walker was arrested, then-State Attorney Andrew Warren gave some information on his reportedly violent past.
According to Warren, Walker was charged in 2009 with second-degree murder in the death of a woman, went to trial and was ultimately convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. That was overturned on an appeal, and Walker was sentenced to eight years in prison.
In 2017, after Walker was released from prison, he violated his probation and was sentenced to another four years, Warren said at the time.
Walker's criminal past is one of the reason's the state is seeking the death penalty, according to court documents. It's one of three factors listed in the notice — first, the crime was committed by a person previously convicted of another capital felony or felony involving the use or threat of violence; second, the crime was "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel;" and third, the crime was a homicide and "was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner."
A second arrest was also made in Nilexia's murder, Tampa police said. On July 28, Chief Mary O'Connor said 45-year-old Robert Creed Jr. was located by U.S. Marshals and was arrested for accessory after the fact for first-degree murder.
Previous reporting from 10 Tampa Bay contributed to this report.