St. Paul man pleads guilty to murder charges

A St. Paul man has entered guilty pleas to multiple charges in a case regarding the death of a bystander after a gunfight and crash.

According to court records, 34-year-old Marvel Williams has entered guilty pleas for the following felony charges:

  • Second-degree murder with intent
  • Third-degree murder – perpetrating an eminently dangerous act
  • Felon in possession of a firearm/ammunition

An additional charge of second-degree murder has been dismissed.

Records show the guilty pleas were entered Tuesday, May 19 — just one day after a jury trial for Williams began. In addition, records show he is being held without bail or bond and his trial has been waived.

As previously reported, 18-year-old Autumn Merrick was killed while riding a scooter on the sidewalk near the intersection of Fifth Street and Sixth Avenue North on Oct. 6, 2021. Two SUVs crashed after a gunfight, killing Merrick and sending the three SUV occupants to the hospital in serious condition.

Williams was the front seat passenger in the Range Rover that crashed into a light pole and caught on fire.

A criminal complaint states he was arrested on another matter.

The driver of the Range Rover, identified as Christopher London Walker, was charged with both aiding and abetting and attempting to commit second-degree intentional murder as well as felony possession of a firearm.

According to two criminal complaints, at 11:09 p.m. on Oct. 6, Metro Transit police heard gunfire at the intersection of Fifth Street and Sixth Avenue North and saw the Ranger Rover driving fast through the intersection. They then heard a loud crash.

The Range Rover had crashed into a light pole and caught fire; the Durango had crashed into a building. Body camera video and witness statements helped identify Walker as the Range Rover’s driver and Williams as its passenger, the complaint states. Officers helped Walker, Williams and the third occupant.

As more officers arrived, they found Merrick, who was declared dead at the scene despite first responders attempting life-saving measures.

A witness who was with Merrick told police they were driving scooters to a Holiday gas station across from the scene. According to the complaint, the pair was standing on the corner when the Durango hit Merrick and “pushed her directly into the building.” The witness said Merrick was stuck under the car and she helped pull Merrick out.

Surveillance video showed the Durango enter the intersection, hit Merrick and drive straight into a building, the complaint states. The Range Rover then crashed into a light pole and burst into flames. Surveillance video from around the city showed the Range Rover chasing the Durango.

In the Durango, police found a jammed semi-automatic handgun, two other handguns in the passenger seat and a third semi-automatic handgun on the sidewalk nearby, the complaint states. In the Range Rover, there was a small semi-automatic handgun. There were two bullet holes in the Durango and bullet casings discarded along Sixth Avenue North.

The Element Hotel’s front entrance window, which is near the scene of the crash, was damaged and police found a slug near the door, according to the complaint. DNA from a Ruger pistol found near the passenger side of the Range Rover helped identify Williams as a participant in the crime. He also has a 2017 conviction related to a homicide.

Williams is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 4, 2022.