Mastermind behind 'elaborate immigration plot' charged with murder in accomplice's death, police say

Charly Edsitty Image
Monday, April 8, 2024
Man charged in accomplice's death after immigration scheme foiled
William Winfrey has been charged with murder after his accomplice was shot to death by a bystander during a planned robbery for the alleged victims to obtain visas.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Murder charges have been filed against a man who police say was behind an elaborate scheme that turned deadly to obtain immigration documents, according to records.

William Winfrey, 30, is charged in connection to the death of his accomplice, Rasshauud Scott, after a staged robbery ended in gunfire, according to police.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Bystander wanted for questioning after allegedly shooting robbery suspect in NW Houston: HPD

The situation unfolded on the evening of Jan. 27, 2024, at a northwest Houston gas station on Ella Boulevard.

In a surveillance video from the gas station, Scott is seen running up to a couple at a gas pump and seemingly robbing them of their belongings.

The suspect then tries to run before being fatally shot by a bystander from a red car who witnessed what police believed was a robbery.

Investigators said that the crime was put together for the alleged robbery victims to obtain U-visas. Officials said the visa would allow them to qualify for work permits as the case is being resolved.

That's because the visas are set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

SEE ALSO: 'Suspect' and 'victims' staged robbery when armed bystander stepped in, HPD says

Several text messages on Winfrey's phone revealed that he was involved in the planning process, along with the victims and Scott. It was also discovered that Winfrey and Scott staged other robberies last year that resulted in the alleged victims obtaining visas.

Winfrey was arrested on April 3 and was denied bond on Monday.

The bystander who fired the shots that killed Scott did speak to the Houston Police Department shortly after the shooting. He was questioned and released. HPD said he was not involved in the fraudulent robbery.

This case remains under investigation.

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