SARASOTA -- Pele Williams, the man responsible for a brief but violent crime spree through Sarasota on March 9, 2011, has been convicted of robbery with a firearm, principal to robbery with a firearm, principal to aggravated battery, and fleeing to elude, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
"Because of his violent history and status as a prison release re-offender, the judge immediately sentenced Williams to 2 consecutive life sentences plus 20 years," the sheriff's office said in a release. The incident began around 12:30 p.m., with Williams robbing a woman at gunpoint outside Westfield Sarasota Square, then traveling north to the Sarasota Pavilion where his co-defendant Melodee Haygood robbed and shot a woman outside of Publix. The spree ended on Stickney Point Road just west of Swift Road when the suspects crashed their Mercedes after a short pursuit with deputies, the sheriff's office said. Haygood previously agreed to a 25-year prison sentence, but Williams chose to go stand trial before a jury, which convicted him of all counts.