Steven Williams, 25, is accused of carrying out the murders between September 2018 and May 2019 in exchange for “thousands of dollars,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced Friday.
“His streak of wanton, violent crimes against our communities over the past two-plus years ends today,” Krasner said in a statement announcing the charges.
Williams, of Philadelphia, was already in custody at a Pennsylvania state prison on unrelated charges. He was connected to the four homicides through the murder weapons, Krasner said.
Williams at first denied any link to the killings. But once he was told of the evidence against him, he claimed others conspired to make him the “fall guy,” police told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The first victim, William Crawford, 35, was gunned down in September 2018 as he got out of his car in the city’s Rhawnhurst section, police told the newspaper.
Williams was also charged in the shooting deaths of Jermaine Simmons, 39, who was fatally shot in February 2019 as he sat in a parked car on West Oak Lane, and Richard Isaac, 31, who died after being shot in the head in March 2019 in East Mount Airy, police told the newspaper.
Williams’ fourth alleged victim, Leslie Carroll, 46, was gunned down in the city’s Francisville section as he sat in his son’s car in May 2019, police told the newspaper.
Williams, who is jailed without bail, was part of a group of men who killed others for money, a law enforcement source told the newspaper.
“You go to somebody in that group and you say, ‘I want so-and-so dead,’” the source said. “They don’t care who it is, they don’t want to know the reason why. All they want to know is, ‘Will you give me portraits of dead presidents on green paper called money?’ If you can come with the money, they will kill somebody for you.”
An investigation into the alleged contract killings is ongoing, the law enforcement source told the Inquirer.
A spokesman for the Defender Association of Philadelphia, which is representing Williams, declined to comment on the charges, CBS Philly reported.