Skip to content

Ronald Williams Arizona Death Row

ronald williams

Ronald Williams was sentenced to death by the State of Arizona for a murder during a robbery. According to court documents Ronald Williams would break into an elderly man’s home and shoot him dead. Ronald Williams who was previously convicted of the murder of a off duty police officer would be arrested by the FBI in New York City. Ronald Williams would be convicted and sentenced to death..

Arizona Death Row Inmate List

Ronald Williams 2021 Information

Not Held In Arizona

Ronald Williams Other News

A jury convicted Ronald Turney Williams on February 10, 1984, of first degree murder and armed burglary in the first degree for breaking into a home, burglarizing it, and shooting and killing someone who saw him, John Bunchek. Williams was sentenced to death on the murder conviction and to an aggravated term of fourteen years for the burglary conviction.

John Bunchek, an elderly Scottsdale resident, was shot and killed on March 12, 1981. A white male who had been seen wandering around the neighborhood just before the shooting knocked on the Bunchek’s door and asked Sylvia Bunchek whether her next-door neighbors were home. Mrs. Bunchek told him that they were not. Mrs. Bunchek saw the stranger walk toward the neighbors’ (the Tancoses’) house. She expressed concern to her husband when he arrived a few minutes later. He went to investigate. When he failed to return, Mrs. Bunchek went to the Tancos house where she found her husband lying face down in a pool of blood, having been shot in the chest. John Bunchek ultimately died from the wound.

In addition to Mrs. Bunchek, five other witnesses saw the stranger in the neighborhood that day. Brenda Wood and William Koranda had talked with him face-to-face; Alan and Elizabeth Tautkus saw him for about five seconds as they drove by in their car. Wood and the Tautkuses provided the police with a description from which a composite sketch was prepared. This sketch was televised and published in local newspapers on March 13.

It was seen by one of Williams’s roommates, Lynn Walsh. Williams rented a house that was about three minutes from the Tuatkus home with Walsh, James McClaskey and Cheryl Le Duc. Walsh told McClaskey and Le Duc that the drawing looked like “Randy.” “Randolph Cooper” and “Randy Despain” were names that Williams testified he used while he was in Arizona. The roommates looked at the drawing and made the composite face look thinner and more bearded. McClaskey then called Silent Witness and reported their suspicions that Williams was the suspect.

Meanwhile, without telling anyone, Williams “threw his stuff in the trunk of the car” and took off from Scottsdale the day of the murder. He was arrested after a shoot-out with FBI agents in New York City on June 8, 1981.

An Arizona grand jury indicted Williams and, following an extradition hearing, Williams was arraigned on April 3, 1983. Counsel was appointed for him, but Williams elected to represent himself at the guilt phase with the assistance of advisory counsel.

The evidence at trial showed that none of the items taken from the Tancos residence during the burglary was found in Williams’s possession. However, the Mauser.380 semiautomatic pistol that Williams used in the New York shoot-out was the same gun that fired the bullet which killed Bunchek. Williams had bought this gun in Mechanicsville, Virginia, in 1980. Also, a footprint on the door of the Tancos house matched the tread marks of a type of athletic shoe that Williams had owned when he was in Scottsdale. In addition, Mrs. Tautkus identified Williams as the person she saw on March 12, although Wood and Koranda both testified that Williams was not the man they had seen in the neighborhood.

After Williams was shot and apprehended in New York, a nurse asked the FBI agent accompanying Williams to the hospital what Williams had done. The agent indicated that “he killed a bunch of people down south.” When Williams mumbled “no, no, no,” and the agent said “What about the old man in Scottsdale,” Williams replied either “If[I] hadn’t been framed in the first place, it never would have happened,” or “None of this would have happened if I hadn’t been framed in the first place.” Williams’s reference to being framed was to a prior murder conviction in West Virginia.

Williams subsequently also admitted to burglarizing the home of Marjorie Larson in Virginia in December 1980. Like the door to the Tancos residence, the Larson front door was opened by bodily force. Both were daytime burglaries during which small items were stolen. As Williams was leaving the Larson house, he saw Larson standing in a neighbor’s driveway and shot at (but did not hit) her. The gun used to fire at Larson was the same gun that was used in the Bunchek murder and that Williams used in the shoot-out with the FBI. Williams left Virginia after the Larson burglary although he was engaged to be married at the time.

Williams testified on his own behalf. His defense was that McClaskey and McClaskey’s friend, “Bobby,” had borrowed his gun and committed the crime. However, LeDuc and Walsh testified that McClaskey looked and dressed differently from the man seen in the neighborhood that day. Neither knew of any friend of McClaskey whose name was “Bobby.”

Williams also testified that he left Scottsdale to avoid being investigated for escaping from jail in 1979, committing the burglary in Virginia, and having no identification. Williams admitted that he lied under oath (at the extradition hearing) about aliases he had used, people he knew, and his presence in Arizona at the time Bunchek was killed.

The jury returned a guilty verdict on the first degree murder and burglary counts on February 10, 1984.

Ronald Williams Other News

One of West Virginia’s most notorious criminals turned 76 this month.  Ronald Turney Williams remains housed in the state’s maximum-security prison at Mount Olive in Fayette County where he will spend the rest of his life.

Williams was already serving a life sentence at the old Moundsville penitentiary for the murder of Beckley Police Sgt. David Lilly when he helped lead a mass escape of 15 inmates on November 7, 1979.  Williams and others commandeered a passing vehicle and fatally shot the driver, off-duty State Trooper Phillip Kesner.

Most of the escapees were rounded up quickly, but Williams managed to elude authorities for 18 months. During that time, he sent taunting postcards to some of his inmate friends and continued his violent ways, murdering a Scottsdale, Arizona man.  The FBI put him on their Most Wanted List.

Finally, in June 1981, he was tracked to a hotel in New York City where FBI agents arrested him following a shootout where he was wounded.

Today, Williams’ life is confined to a simple routine at Mount Olive.  Here are some facts about his imprisonment, according to the State Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

He is housed in small cell in one of the maximum-security Quilliams units (named after correctional officer William Quilliams, who was stabbed to death by an inmate in in 1972). Prisoners in this unit are segregated from the rest of the prison population.

His cell is very basic—about 80 square feet of floor space, a toilet, wash basin, desk with stool and a bunk with mattress. He does have a television and radio and receives newspapers. Williams has an Xbox and a word processor, but no access to the internet.

Williams is a “pod janitor.”  His duties include cleaning floors, walls and the unit shower.  He also is allowed to go to “outdoor recreation” one hour a day, five days week.

I had other questions about Williams confinement, but DMAPS is limited on what inmate information it can provide. For example, I wanted to know whether Williams has caused any disruption or whether he has any health problems that require treatment.  Inmate medical privacy issues preclude any comment about his health.

They did add, however, that Williams does receive visitors.

This will likely be the extent of Williams life for the rest of his days.  He is serving two life-with-mercy sentences for murder, plus two consecutive 25- to 100-year terms for kidnapping. His earliest possible parole hearing would be in 2047. Additionally, Williams faces the death penalty in Arizona.

author avatar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *