By Bill Parry
A homeless man was charged in the brutal assault of a 52-year-old woman near 72nd Road and Kissena Boulevard moments after she dropped off her son at school in Kew Gardens Hills on April 30, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced Thursday.
Ronald Williams, 21, was taken into custody Tuesday morning by detectives from the NYPD’s Regional Fugitive Task Force and Special Victims Unit with the help of U.S. Marshals at a hotel in Columbia, S.C.
Williams was extradited back to New York City, where he was arraigned Thursday morning before Queens Criminal Court Judge Jeffrey A. Gershuy on a criminal complaint charging him with assault, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment. Gershuny held the defendant without bail and ordered him to return to court June 8. If convicted, Williams faces up to 25 years in prison.
“The defendant brutally attacked a Queens mother so viciously that she was unrecognizable when she was found unconscious at the bottom of a building’s stairwell,” Brown said. “No one should have to worry about fending off a sexual attack on the streets of our county at any time of the day or night. Despite the defendant’s efforts to escape justice, he was fortunately apprehended and will now stand accountable for this horrific crime.”
The victim was dragged to an outdoor stairwell, sexually assaulted and beaten, according to the criminal charges. Police from the 107th Precinct responded to a 911 call of a possible sexual assault and found the woman unconscious with trauma to the face and body, according to the NYPD. EMS arrived and took the victim to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Queens, where she remains in serious but stable condition, police said.
Her injuries include a fractured vertebrae in her neck and a fractured orbital bone, according to the Queens DA’s office, and she needed four staples in her head as a result of an injury, which is consistent with blunt force trauma.
During his arraignment, prosecutors said Williams made a videotaped confession. They read a statement Williams allegedly gave to investigators in South Carolina.
“I pushed her down the stairs,” Williams allegedly said. “I wasn’t going to rape her. I don’t know how her pants got pulled down. I get angry and black out sometimes.”
Williams, whose last known address was at the Saratoga Family Inn shelter in Jamaica, said nothing in court, and his legal aide attorney entered a plea of not guilty.
The NYPD identified Williams as a suspect in the case last Saturday, warning he was extremely dangerous and could attack again. Police released video of him riding the Q44 bus about an hour before the April 30 attack and the investigation that led to William’s arrest in South Carolina was carried out by a 40-member special tactical team of investigators working the case which they called a top priority.
“It’s been proven over time that we have a very long reach and a very long memory,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said. “I have confidence, the utmost confidence, in my detectives as well as our partners and a special thank you to the marshals for our help in that case.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr