YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Investigators suspect a 16-year-old girl whose body ended up at a waste disposal site near the Mercer-Butler County line was the victim of a “thrill kill.”
Gina Bacher Burger’s alleged killer, Ricki D. Williams IV, 18, of Youngstown, also hoped his crime would earn him “status” on the jail’s top floor, known as “murderer’s row.”
“He was kind of living out his fantasy of being a ‘thug’ or ‘gangster,’ “ Austintown Police Chief Robert Gavalier said this morning of Williams. “He thought killing someone would be fun.”
Prosecutors in Mahoning County announced Wednesday that they might seek the death penalty against Williams, who is charged with murder and remains jailed on $750,000 bail.
Authorities allege Williams on June 23 fatally stabbed Burger, stuffed her body in a playpen bag and placed the bag in a Dumpster outside her apartment building in Austintown, a suburb of Youngstown.
A garbage truck unknowingly took the trash from the Dumpster to the Tri-County Industries Inc. dumpsite in Pine Township, Mercer County. Workers discovered Burger’s body two days later.
Prosecutors said Williams, who is homeless, confessed to killing Burger, who he knew as an acquaintance at her Compass West apartment complex
He is accused of grabbing Burger shortly after she left her apartment, where she lived with her mother. He forced her into another apartment, where Ronisha Johnson lived. Police identified Williams and Johnson as friends.
According to court documents, Johnson said Williams started beating her and forced her and Burger into the woman’s bedroom.
Williams tried to force Johnson to stab Burger with a knife, documents said. When she refused, Williams grabbed the knife and stabbed Burger once in the chest.
The pair then placed Burger’s body in Johnson’s son’s Pack ‘n Play bag, Gavalier said, before it hauled it to the Dumpster.
Chief Gavalier said, “We think (Williams) went to the apartment that night to kill someone. Gina may have been the first person he saw. She may have been at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Williams faces charges of aggravated murder, two counts of kidnapping, intimidation, tampering with evidence, two counts of abduction, possession of criminal tools, abuse of corpse and one misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass.