Alachua County Grand Jury indicts 3 on murder charges

Tingey Injury Law Firm/Unsplash

Three people were indicted on murder charges on Tuesday stemming from separate 2024 incidents.

According to an Eighth Judicial Circuit press release, the Alachua County Spring Term Grand Jury indicted 29-year-old James Thomas Tate, 33-year-old Romanda Lacasey Thompson and 13-year-old Ke’mani Narda Lee Hill on first-degree murder charges.

Tate was arrested by Gainesville Police Department (GPD) detectives after officers responded to 4720 NW 16th Place on Jan. 11 in reference to a disturbance. Officers discovered Marvin Miller deceased from gunshot wounds.

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James Thomas Tate
Alachua County Jail James Thomas Tate

GPD patrol units saw a vehicle fleeing the scene and attempted to stop the vehicle. GPD officers identified Tate driving the vehicle. Law enforcement pursued the vehicle until it crashed in Columbia County.

The investigation revealed that Tate was the suspect in shooting Miller, his employer, and shooting at another employee who received lacerations from escaping through a bedroom window while the three were in Gainesville for a demolition project. The three, all from Mississippi, were staying at Suburban Heights Airbnb.

Tate, of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder in the first-degree, grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft of a firearm and aggravated fleeing and eluding.

On Feb. 28, GPD responded to 200 NE 16th Ave. regarding a death investigation. The deceased victim was identified as Kelly Robert Byrne, who had gotten into a physical altercation with Thompson. Byrne’s body was found in a grassy area between two commercial buildings and, during the investigation, GPD detectives used surveillance video showing the altercation between Thompson and Barnes.  

Thompson, of Gainesville, was charged with first-degree murder.

On April 19, GPD responded to 484 SE 24th Dr. in reference to a vehicle crash that was later determined to be a person shot at the Tiger Bay Apartments.

Romanda Thompson
Courtesy of Alachua County Jail Romanda Thompson

Officers identified the shooting victim as Wilber Alberta Perez. Using community support, GPD detectives identified Hill as the suspect who killed Perez during a drug deal that also involved Zion Mykell James, 14.

Hill, of Gainesville, is being charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a firearm or deadly weapon, shooting or throwing a deadly missile into a dwelling vehicle or vessels, possession of a firearm by a minor under 18 and conspiracy to commit robbery with a firearm.

Judge Jonathan Ramsey received the indictments from the grand jury and Tate, Thompson and Hill will have no bond for their charges. Ramsey ordered Hill to be transferred to the Alachua County Jail.

Editor’s note: Kelly Robert Byrne’s name was corrected.

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To criminal attorneys in the readership: Q. If Ke’mani Narda Lee Hill is convicted does a 13yo get released at 21 or is it a situation where she is someday eligible parole after a certain age or years in prison? Where do you house such a young person assuming she is convicted? A lot of people let this kid down from the day she was born. Unreal. thasnks for letting me ask the questions.