Mary Rice is being held in a Florida jail on $500,000 bond while William Boyette fataly shot himself in the West Point Motel last Tuesday.
William “Billy” Boyette and Mary Craig Rice, who were being hunted by police in Florida and Alabama, were surrounded Tuesday afternoon at the West Point Motel in Troup County, Georgia, officials said.
The Troup County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals and other police were in standoff with the pair at the motel, about 200 miles away from where the crime spree began eight days ago in Milton, Florida. Boyette was found dead inside the motel room, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and Rice was taken into custody, police said.
Boyette and Rice had been on the run since January 31, when police say Boyette killed his ex-girlfriend, Alica Greer, and her friend, Jacqueline Moore, at a Florida motel.
Police say a third woman, Peggy Phillips Broz, was killed during a carjacking in Alabama three days later and a fourth woman was critically wounded in a shooting in Florida on February 6.
Before they were caught, police put out dire warnings about the danger the couple posed to communities across Florida and Alabama.
Mary Barbara Craig Rice, 37, was described as a “willing participant” in the brutal spree, and both she and Boyette, 44, were wanted on murder charges. Both Rice and Boyette have criminal records.“They are frequent flyers,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan told WEAR-TV.
A Troup County, Georgia, sheriff’s deputy spotted the stolen car parked outside the motel, leading to the standoff, officials said.
Several police agencies, including the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, other local police in Georgia, the Georgia State Police, the Escambia and Santa Rosa, Florida, sheriff’s offices, the Baldwin County, Alabama, sheriff’s office and the the U.S. Marshals Service are involved in the investigation and standoff.
Here’s what you need to know about Boyette and Rice:
1. Boyette Had a Lengthy Criminal History, Including Numerous Accusations of Domestic Violence
Billy Boyette, who police say had a lengthy history of violent crimes and was known to be a drug user, told many people he would “not be taken alive,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan told USA Today.
“In law enforcement we take those threats and those admonitions very seriously,” Morgan said.
According to police, Boyette was accused of domestic violence by girlfriends several times in the past. But on several occasions he was not prosecuted because he threatened them with more violence.
Rice, of Milton, Florida, also has a criminal record. She has arrests and convictions for driving with a suspended license, failure to appear in court, obstruction of justice, drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and check fraud.
2. “Mr. Boyette, there are two places you can end up, prison or a cemetery,” Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson told reporters. “The choice is yours. The people coming for you are not the unarmed defenseless victims like you have been preying on, they are professional law enforcement officers that will take you off the streets.”
Johnson said, “Our officers are not taking a shot from this guy. The ending is up to him, we’d prefer it to end peacefully, but if he comes out with a gun, we’re not going to take any chances.”
Rice and Boyette had been making their way through wooded areas in the Florida panhandle and have also been spotted in Alabama. Boyette grew up in the area, and knew the woods, police said.
“I’m being told he knows those woods like the back of his hand, so he knows where to hide,” Johnson told reporters. “When you have an armed suspect in a wooded area and you have to send officers in, you have to remember we’re looking for him, but he’s looking for us as well.”
“Sooner or later he’s going to make a mistake and when he does were gonna pounce on him,” Santa Rosa County, Florida, Sheriff Bob Johnson told ABC News. “Hopefully we can get to him before he does anything stupid again.”
3. The Murder Spree Started After Boyette Was Charged With Brutally Kicking, Punching & Beating His Ex-Girlfriend With an Unopened Soda Bottle
William Boyette is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, Alica Greer, pictured here with him.
Boyette began his killing spree after warrants were issued for him on charges alleging he brutally assaulted his ex-girlfriend, Alica Greer, the Pensacola News Journal reports.
Police said Boyette kicked and punched Greer multiple times, before beating her over the head with an unopened two liter bottle of soda so bad that it split her head open. She was hospitalized and required stitches. The couple broke up after that attack, and Greer reported him to police. Warrants were issued for his arrest.
“He choked her down to the ground, kicked her in the face, hit her in the head with an unopened two liter bottle of soda, so bad she had to have stitches in the top of her head, had to have an MRI of her skull,” Greer’s father, Wayne Lane, told WEAR-TV.
Wayne Lane told the news station his daughter began dating Boyette around Thanksgiving in 2016. The attack occurred a few weeks before she was killed, he said.
At the time of Greer’s death, Boyette was wanted on five charges, including aggravated assault and kidnapping, because he held her against her will in a motel, Lane said
According to Lane, Greer stayed with family for a few days, hiding from Boyette, but then agreed to see him.
On January 31, Boyette went to the Emerald Sands Inn in Milton, Florida, and fatally shot Greer, 30, and Greer’s friend, Jacqueline Moore, 39, according to police.
Boyette then went on the run with Rice.
Greer is survived by three young children under the age of 10, her father told WEAR-TV.
“If they find him, if they shoot him, if he’s dead or alive, if he’s in cuffs or a body bag I want to be there so I can spit in his face when they put him in the meat wagon,” Lane said.
“This man murdered my daughter so bad, and shot her so bad, that we cannot have an open casket for her. I can’t even see my daughter one more time ever again,” Greer’s mother, Kim Lane, told WALA-TV. ““She was goofy, bubbly. Her laugh is contagious, it really was. She would do anything for anybody, even if it took her last penny.”
4. Rice Has Been Charged With Capital Murder After Police Say She Helped Boyette Kill a Hospital Worker in Alabama
Mary Craig Rice was originally accused of being an accomplice after the fact in the shooting deaths of Alicia Greer and Jacqueline Moore, but authorities have now charged her with capital murder in the fatal shooting of a third woman.
Police say Rice and Billy Boyette killed Peggy Broz, a 52-year-old hospital worker, in Lillian, Alabama. They stole her car and drove it to Florida, according to police.
Mrs. Peggy was a beloved Mother, Wife, Grand Mother, family member, friend and coworker. She dedicated her life to saving the lives of others and bringing comfort to the sick as a Respiratory Therapist at Baptist Hospital for the last 30 years. There are no words to adequately convey what a loss this is for her family, community and work family. Mrs. Peggy was an active member in her Church and has been described as a staple in her community. She was a wonderfully happy woman who was a ray of sun shine to all who knew her. She was a genuinely kind soul. She was admired, respected and loved by so many.
That shooting occurred Friday, February 3, police said.
The car was later found, abandoned. Police said Rice was seen on surveillance video at a gas station where she and Boyette stopped for food and supplies.
She has died her hair orange, according to police. Police believe she is a willing participant in the spree.
“The fact that she was seen away from him in Walmart and then came together with him in the parking lot, she’s a willing participant without a doubt,” Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said.
5. The Couple Then Broke Into a Home in Florida & Shot a Woman Before Stealing Her Car, Authorities Say Boyette and Rice drove the car stolen after the murder of Peggy Broz to the Pensacola, Florida.
On Monday morning, police said the duo broke into the home of 28-year-old Kayla Crocker in Belulah, Florida, while she and her 2-year-old son slept. Crocker was found in her home Monday morning suffering from a gunshot wound by her mother, who went to check on her after she failed to show up for work.
Boyette and Rice stole Crocker’s car, a white 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt with the Florida license plate number 9613BJ, after the shooting, police say.
At some point Monday they drove to Troup County, Georgia, where they checked into a motel under Rice’s real name, police said. Police later saw the stolen car at the motel and saw a man and woman peaking out of the windows in the hotel.After a standoff, Boyette fatally shot himself and Rice surrendered to police.
By Tom Cleary