Woman describes assault by man accused of murder

Lee Ann Maggio said a chill went through her body when she realized that the teen accused of killing an Austintown girl last month was the same man who had assaulted her late last year outside a Lordstown business.

Court records show that Ricki Williams IV, 18, was on probation in connection with Maggio’s case on June 23, the day 16-year-old Gina Burger was fatally stabbed at a Compass West apartment in Austintown.

A Mahoning County grand jury on Thursday indicted Williams in Burger’s murder. He is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and intimidation.

He was arrested July 1 in Youngstown and is being held at the Mahoning County Jail on $750,000 bond.

“I actually got sick to my stomach when I heard about that poor girl and her family. I thought about what he could have done to me and am so thankful that I am here today. I thank God every day, but at the same time I’m torn because I feel so bad for that girl’s family. It’s horrible,” said Maggio, 43, of Warren.

Police believe Williams fatally stabbed Burger and disposed of her body in a Dumpster at the apartment complex. Her body was discovered two days later at a Pennsylvania landfill.

Roneishia Johnson, 21, of Compass West apartments, told investigators she helped Williams dispose of Burger’s body because she was afraid he might hurt her if she didn’t. She was also indicted on Thursday and charged with obstructing justice in the case, a felony.

Authorities reported that Williams had an extensive, and at times violent, juvenile criminal history dating back to his preteen years.

Records show that on Feb. 20, Williams was placed on probation for a year in Newton Falls Municipal Court after he pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor assault in Maggio’s case. He was also ordered to spend 180 days in jail, 90 of which were suspended. An additional misdemeanor charge of aggravated trespass was dismissed.

Lordstown police charged him after receiving complaints that he had assaulted two employees at PTI Quality Containment Solutions on Dec. 13, 2013.

The company’s human resources director stated that while she was interviewing prospective employees, she heard something going on outside the office exit and saw a male, later identified as Williams, strike and push a female to the ground.

That female was Maggio. On Thursday, Maggio recalled her encounter with Williams. She said she had gone to PTI, where her son worked, to exchange a vehicle with him. Maggio said she was waiting outside the building when she noticed a vehicle pull into the parking lot. She said she could hear a young man inside the vehicle yelling and that she could tell he was on a cell phone.

She said he got out of the vehicle and continued screaming obscenities and racial slurs.

“At that point I still wasn’t sure whether he was screaming at me or someone on the phone,” she said.

Maggio said Williams accused her of staring at him, to which she replied that she was not. She said he grabbed her by the arm and pushed her.

“I fell backwards and I could see he lifted his leg like he was planning to kick me while I was still down. That’s when I saw he had a gun. I kept thinking ‘This is it. I might not make it out of this alive. He had this look in his eyes, so cold and empty, like he was so angry. I felt like he wanted to kill me,” she said.

The next thing Maggio realized was that Williams was punching a male PTI employee. The man had told police that he got out of his vehicle and asked Williams what was going on. He stated that Williams then punched him in the face and the back of his neck.

One witness told police that the vehicle Williams left in was hers, and that her daughter had come to exchange vehicles with her and had apparently brought Williams with her.

Mahoning County authorities said Williams was wanted on a warrant out of juvenile court when Burger was killed. Because he was a juvenile, details about that case and others involving Williams when he was underage are not available.

“I don’t understand that. I get so angry when I think about the fact that he was on probation for hurting me when that girl died. It’s heartbreaking. He should have been in jail. The whole thing is wrong,” she said.

Police reported that Maggio “was in obvious pain, and was unable to move her right arm.” She was taken to an area hospital. She said her arm was not broken and that she has recovered from the physical trauma, but continues to carry the emotional impact.

She said she had nightmares of being killed during the assault and that for a long time she was afraid to open her door or go outside especially when she learned that Williams was seeing a girl in her neighborhood.

Last week, Williams admitted to investigators that he took part in killing Burger and disposing of her body. Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Ken Cardinal said Williams “was set on killing someone that night and it didn’t matter who.”

If convicted, Williams could face the death penalty.

“I’m torn about that because of my Christian faith and I believe only God should determine life or death. But I have to admit that in this case I think I agree with it. I don’t know that he has any remorse. He just seemed so angry and mean. I don’t know what else to do with someone like that.”

Shank is a reporter for the Tribune Chronicle in Warren.