MIAMI -- A grand jury has indicted Charles Henry Williams for a 1984 rape and homicide and police Thursday hoped it would lead to other charges against the man suspected of killing up to 32 inner-city women.
Williams, 36, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Patricia Johnson, 19, who was found raped and strangled in a vacant lot in Overtown, a mostly black section of Miami.
Metro-Dade detectives said they have been investigating Williams for the past three years, trying to connect him to a string of mysterious killings of prostitutes and crack cocaine addicts from 1980 to 1989.
'It's about time,' homicide detective Frank Castillo said of the indictment.
Until Wednesday's indictment the strongest charge against Williams was sexual assault although police said witnesses had reported seeing him with six homicide victims shortly before they were killed.
In the Johnson homicide the body was discovered next to a dumpster by a man taking out his trash. The body was naked from the waist down. Investigators said in other killings where Williams is a suspect the victims were found naked from the waist down.
Some of the killings occured near Williams' mother's house in Overtown.
Williams admitted to police he was with Sharmanita Grays in a motel just hours before she was found dead at the motel in 1988. He has denied killing the woman.
Chief Medical Examiner Charles Davis reviewed the autopsies of Grays and 13 other women and determined they had all been asphyxiated.
'I think we have a killer here skilled at killing when the victim is unsuspecting and at a physical disadvantage,' Davis said.
Williams, a former Miami Jackson High School football player, is currently serving a 40-year prison term for dragging a woman into a junkyard and raping her. The conviction is on appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.
Williams' record includes a 1976 arrest for raping a 15-year-old Overtown girl on her way to school. Within 10 years he was arrested for rape six more times.
He was jailed five times from May 1987 to March 1989. He was arrested in April 1989 after he was seen with Sandra Jackson, 21, and Brenda Hernandez, 20, just before they were found dead. He was charged only with rape.