Reward!!! $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderer of Frank Champion Jr.
Aziz Williams (a.k.a. Dice) Murderer...Released!! Law enforcement and D.A. still believe Williams is the prime suspect. If you have any information please contact the Sheriff Department or use the anonymous "Submit A Tip link".
Our family would like to send a special thanks to Channels KOVR 13; UNV 19; KTXL FOX 40; KXTV 10; KCRA 3, for participating in the December 9th, 2004 Frank Champion Jr. press conference.
We would also like to thank Sergeant R.L. Davis, Detective Stomsvick and the entire Sacramento Sheriffs Department in helping our family get this cold blooded killer off our streets, so our loving Son, Brother, and Uncle may rest in peace.
Tough lessons for family of slain man
Relatives hope a reward will break the street code of silence.
Christina Jewett -- Bee Staff Writer
His family believes that coming of age in a gated Elk Grove community did not teach Frank Champion Jr. the street rule of survival in one of south Sacramento's roughest areas: Don't talk back.
His family believes the lesson came at the cost of a bullet to his heart. The Champion family's notion of justice did not prepare them for another reality of the streets: Witnesses don't snitch. Their lesson comes at the cost of knowing their son's killer walks free.
Fifteen months since the shooting, they have accepted the challenges that detectives face and have contributed to a $10,000 reward. They hope an arrest comes from one of more than a dozen witnesses who saw Champion shot in the back as he ran into a busy street.
"We're hoping that $10,000 will give someone the incentive to forget about their neighborhood for a while," Frank Champion Sr. said.
Champion found his way into south Sacramento as a featherweight boxer at Capitol Boxing Gym on Stockton Boulevard near 14th Avenue. His parents said he graduated from Elk Grove High School in 1995 and then worked a night shift for eight years at UPS in West Sacramento. He tended to stay up all night, said his father, an executive at Channel 13 (KOVR).
"He liked to be with people who were down and out," Frank Champion Sr. said. "He liked to help out the little guy." Champion died shortly after being shot Oct. 21, 2003, in front of India Mart Liquors on Fruitridge Road, 13 miles from the home where he lived for nearly a decade. It was a world apart.
Within the 95820 zip code where the shooting occurred, 25 percent of the people live in poverty, according to the 2000 census. Nearly half of the people over 16 report to the census that they are simply not in the labor force.
Police and sheriff's officers regularly sweep the area for prostitutes. They regularly nab dealers selling rock cocaine.
"The reality of many homicides - they usually occur in your poorer, bad neighborhoods and the street code is that you don't talk," said Detective Grant Stomsvik of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.
Bystanders, detectives and a man who was shot the instant before Champion have talked enough to give Frank Champion Sr. an idea of what happened the day his son was shot.
Frank Champion Jr. and his friend Levi Acuna left India Mart with apple juice and cognac. Acuna went to the driver's side of a blue Camaro and Champion to the passenger side. A man wearing a nylon mask approached from the side of the market, according to Acuna's court testimony. He pointed a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol at Champion's temple and demanded his jewelry. "Knowing Frank, he probably told the guy to take a hike," Champion Sr. said. Acuna got in the car. The assailant shot Acuna in the chest. Champion ran. The gunman shot Champion in the back. Champion dashed into Fruitridge Road with a bullet lodged in an upper chamber of his heart. He collapsed in the street.
Information about the case came in pieces to the Champion family. The largest fell in place when Acuna came to their home to express his condolences and tell what he saw that night. Acuna picked Aziz "Dice" Williams, 28, out of a police photo lineup as the killer, according to his court testimony. On June 1, sheriff's officials arrested Williams, who had shot and wounded another person in 1998, records show.
On July 23, the case fell apart. During a preliminary hearing, Acuna testified in court that he was not able to identify Williams as the shooter. Later that day, Williams was released from jail.
Stomsvik said Williams is no longer a suspect but is still being looked at in the investigation. Acuna didn't return calls from The Bee. The Bee was unable to locate Williams. The Champion family believes someone has justice at the tip of a finger and hopes for a witness or informant to call the Sheriff's Department. "We need an individual to stand up and do the right thing," Champion Sr. said.
The family has known adversity before. Linda Champion has fought off three bouts with cancer in the past 20 years. She said mourning her son does not get easier; she is stunned that the killing was so callous and so public.
Mysti Champion, two years older than Frank, has tried to explain things to her 7-year-old son, who was old enough to love his uncle (and play-box with him) but not old enough to go to court.
"He talks about him every day," Mysti said. In the family portrait this Christmas, a photo of Frank's smiling face was propped on the mantel in place of where he stood in 2002. The family has learned about street crime and justice - about the insecurity and insularity of poverty - but still struggles to reconcile separate realities.
"Who wants to live next to a killer?" Mysti Champion wondered. "Wouldn't they want to (report the person) and live in a safer neighborhood?"
Arrest in Champion Homicide
Sergeant R.L. Davis,
On October 21, 2003 Frank Champion and Levi Acuna exited the India Mart at 5278 Fruitridge Road . Champion was approached by the suspect who was armed with a handgun. After an exchange of words, the suspect fired two rounds at the two victims. The first round struck Acuna and the second struck Champion fatally wounding him.
After an intensive investigation Detectives were able to identify Aziz WILLIAMS as the suspect in the shooting.
At 2:30 p.m. on June 1, 2004, twenty eight (28) year old Aziz WILLIAMS was arrested for one count of murder and one count of attempted murder. He was arrested at 2926 Meadowglen Place.
No photograph of Williams will be available at this time and the investigation is ongoing.
Suspect arraigned in October's fatal shooting at liquor store
By Elizabeth Hume -- Bee Staff Writer
Champion, 26, died after being shot in the back that night. Seven months later, the family he left behind was feeling a sense of relief when Sacramento County sheriff's detectives said they had arrested the man they believe killed Champion and severely wounded his friend.
"I didn't know how long this was going to take," Champion's father, Frank Champion, said Thursday after he left the arraignment of Aziz Williams, 28, on charges of murder and attempted murder. "The news was kind of like relief of frustration and anger all at once."
According to court records back to 1990, Williams has been arrested numerous times for assault and narcotics charges. In 1997, he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to one year in jail.
Sacramento County Sheriff's Detectives Marci Minter and Lori Gregersen interviewed at least 25 people and spent hours studying the past history of the victims and surveillance video.
They now believe there's a strong probability they will make two more arrests, sheriff's homicide Sgt. Craig Hill said.
The Elk Grove High School graduate was a focused boxer, with dreams of going professional. Since graduating in 1995, Champion had loaded trucks at United Parcel Service in West Sacramento. He liked the work because it made him strong, his father said.
Champion lived near the India Mart at 5278 Fruitridge Road where he was shot. That night Champion was wearing nice clothing and jewelry. Detectives believe that may have been what caught the suspects' interests.
Champion and his friend were on their way to meet some girls when they headed out before midnight that October evening, Hill said.
They stopped at a liquor store and purchased apple juice and Hennessy liquor. As they returned to their green Camaro the two men got back into their car, and two men and a woman approached. Words were exchanged. Two shots were fired.
This site was last updated 01/03/05