Boy pleads guilty to bloody as­sault of el­derly woman

The Times-Tribune - - Front Page - STAFF WRITER BY JOSEPH KOHUT

A 17-year-old boy pleaded guilty Mon­day in Wayne County to charges he stabbed and sex­u­ally as­saulted an el­derly woman more than a year ago.

Aza­iah Tahir Wil­liams of Cool­baugh Twp. may face as many as 50 years in state prison, a $75,000 fine, and must reg­is­ter as a sex of­fender for the rest of his life upon his re­lease for the bloody Sept. 24, 2015, attack that be­gan as a knock on the door.

The Times-Tri­bune does not iden­tify vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault.

Mr. Wil­liams, who was 15 at the time of his ar­rest, knocked on the 83-yearold woman’s door in Dre­her Twp. and let him­self in, state po­lice charged. He stabbed her five times along her neck,

ab­domen and back with a steak knife, took her credit card and sex­u­ally as­saulted her.

“Yes, I raped her,” he told state po­lice, ac­cord­ing to charg­ing doc­u­ments.

In a state­ment read in court Mon­day, Dis­trict At­tor­ney Ja­nine Ed­wards de­scribed a scene of sheer vi­o­lence that awaited the in­ves­ti­ga­tors who re­sponded. The vic­tim was “soaked in blood from her head to her waist,” Ms. Ed­wards read. The el­derly woman was dressed only in a sweater and un­der­pants. She was put in a med­i­cally in­duced coma and rushed into surgery. She has since re­cov­ered phys­i­cally from the stab­bing, though she was not at court Mon­day.

Ini­tially, state po­lice charged Mr. Wil­liams with at­tempted homi­cide, rape, rob­bery, ag­gra­vated as­sault, bur­glary and theft. The plea en­tered Mon­day ad­mits guilt to at­tempted homi­cide, which car­ries a max­i­mum of 40 years in prison, and sex­ual as­sault, which car­ries a max­i­mum of 10 years in prison, Ms. Ed­wards said.

The decades he po­ten­tially faces in prison caps the ef­fort of Ms. Ed­wards’ office to have him tried in adult court.

In the months fol­low­ing his ar­rest, the pros­e­cu­tion and his pub­lic de­fender, Richard Henry, bat­tled in court to de­ter­mine if he was amenable to treat­ment in the ju­ve­nile sys­tem, which can only keep an of­fender in­car­cer­ated un­til the age of 21. Judge Raymond Hamill in Oc­to­ber ruled he would be tried as an adult.

Sen­tenc­ing is sched­uled for March 9 at 9:30 a.m.

WIL­LIAMS

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