Teen arrested in slaying of Holiday man in Craigslist dirt bike sale

Ramontrae Williams, 16, left, is charged in the shooting death of James Beck, 44.
Ramontrae Williams, 16, left, is charged in the shooting death of James Beck, 44.
Published Feb. 2, 2017

TAMPA — When Suzanne Beck's son got home Tuesday night, she asked him to change his pants.

They were covered in blood.

The 15-year-old had attempted to revive his dad, Beck's husband, who was shot during a Craigslist sale gone bad. James Beck, 44, died.

Tampa police arrested one person in connection with the shooting, 16-year-old Ramontrae Williams, on charges of first-degree murder and robbery. Investigators were still searching for a second suspect Wednesday.

"This is the most tragic thing that has ever happened," Suzanne Beck said. "And everybody thinks it can't happen to them."

Police said Beck's son, whose name was not released, posted an ad to sell a dirt bike on Craigslist and arranged to meet a buyer around 7 p.m. James Beck and his son traveled from their home in Holiday with the bike in their truck bed and met with suspects near N 18th Street and E 24th Avenue in Tampa.

The son had exchanged numbers with the buyer, Suzanne Beck said, and even talked to the buyer's father. They were supposed to meet somewhere in Temple Terrace, but the buyers changed the location and they ended up in an east Tampa neighborhood, Suzanne Beck said.

Instead of completing the sale, though, one of two suspects who showed up jumped into the truck bed and tried to steal the bike, Suzanne Beck said she was told. She said her husband got into the driver's seat to back up and slam on the brakes to knock him off, at which point another person at the sale ran around the truck and shot her husband.

The bike was found near Williams' home, police said.

"A dirt bike," Beck said over the phone Wednesday, despair audible in her voice. "That's not worth someone's life."

State records show Williams was arrested and charged with sexual battery in 2014, but details and the resolution of that case were not immediately available Wednesday.

Beck, who said she is in recovery after being treated for breast cancer, said she and her husband have three children: a 22-year-old daughter, the 15-year-old son and a 4-year-old son. Beck said they are handling it as well as one could expect.

A carpenter, painter and craftsman, James Beck was the sole provider for the family.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," the widow said.

She warned that online transactions can be dangerous, and pleaded with people to be smart when conducting them. She hoped her husband's death will be a warning.

"If anything comes out of Jimmy's big, happy, glorious life, please learn a lesson, good God."

Tampa police offers its downtown headquarters and three district offices scattered around the city as "safe zones" for online transactions, where people can wait for the buyer or seller in the lobby. That limits the likelihood of someone getting hurt or ripped off, police spokesman Steve Hegarty said.

Otherwise, Hegarty said, police encourage people to make transactions in safe, public places, perhaps with security cameras.

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Anyone with information about Tuesday's case is asked to call Tampa police at (813) 231-6130.

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Josh Solomon at or (813) 909-4613. Follow @josh_solomon15. Contact Tony Marrero at or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.