The avoidable murder of Savannah Ryan Williams

In the four weeks through December 4, Minneapolis recorded 11 homicides, with the adjacent suburb of Edina recording two more. In the midst of all this violence, the individual stories can get lost.

One recent homicide has received widespread media coverage. On December 1, the county coroner named the victim of a Nov. 29 homicide as Miguel Reed Stillday, a 38-year-old male from St. Paul. Stillday died of a gunshot wound on 4th Avenue near Lake St. in south Minneapolis.

Leave it to the New York Post to produce the case’s most sensational headline,

Man whose last name is Bible fatally shot transgender woman who made him feel ‘suspicious’ during oral sex: cops

A search of Stillday’s name in the judicial database tells an interesting story. Stillday was convicted in 2019 of felony aggravated robbery under the name Savannah Ryan Williams for a crime committed in June 2018. The complaint in that case indicates that Williams changed her name from Miguel Reed Chaske in August 2018.

A September 2018 police report (p. 2) notes the following:

That same report (p. 3) also notes that Miguel had four aggravated robbery convictions and other felony convictions in Minnesota.

Stillday/Williams was convicted in the case in January 2019. The sentencing order lists five separate names for Miguel (including Stillday) and a 1981 date of birth, which would have made him 41 years old (the 1984 birth date is also listed) at the time of his death last month. To recap: five names, three different birth dates, and two genders listed for this one individual.

Miguel was sentenced to five years in state prison, and to be sent to the St. Cloud prison, the intake facility for men.

None of the above has any bearing on the events of November 29 in south Minneapolis. Police arrested 25-year-old Damarean Bible of Minneapolis for the shooting. At the time of his arrest on December 1, Bible was wanted for an alleged aggravated robbery that occurred on Nicollet Mall on November 5.

Bible’s mugshot:

There is no judge to blame in this instance, however. The December 1 arrest of Bible on the murder charge was also the initial arrest on the robbery charge. They just didn’t find him fast enough. In the robbery case, Bible is being charged with a felony and being held on $100,000 bail.

Bible lives in an apartment building in downtown Minneapolis. Coincidentally, the same day he was taken into custody, his landlord sued him for eviction. The building’s lawsuit alleges that on November 8, Bible committed an armed robbery of another resident in the building. The eviction lawsuit is a civil, not criminal matter.

A search of Bible’s name in the state judicial database produces a handful of petty misdemeanor convictions for disorderly conduct and traffic violations, but no felony charges.

Bible appears to have formerly been a resident of St. Cloud. Bible missed two separate court dates on one of the disorderly conduct charges.

A more recent disorderly conduct conviction involved a February 2020 incident at a Robbinsdale hospital, where Bible fled a mental health hold, according to the complaint filed in the case.

Yesterday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune put out a lengthy article about the killing of Savannah Williams. Bible is now being charged with second-degree murder in the case, along with the unrelated robbery charge.

A chance encounter at a bus stop on Lake Street.

“Nobody deserves to die this way.” KARE 11 reports on an event in Minneapolis to remember the life of the victim.

In recent days, Savannah’s death has become a cause celebre, complete with a capitol press conference.