A homeless man from lower Manhattan was indicted by a Queens grand jury on attempted murder charges for the “brutal” bludgeoning attack on a woman in Long Island City last month.
William Blount, 57, whose last known address is in a shelter at the Radisson Hotel on William Street, was arraigned March 25 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Toni Cimino on a 15-count indictment charging him with attempted murder, assault, robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and other crimes after he allegedly attacked the 58-year-old victim as she entered the Queens Plaza subway station.
According to the charges, at around 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 24, Nina Rothschild was heading home from her job as a researcher at the city’s Health Department when she was followed into the subway station by Blount. As alleged, the defendant began to kick the woman down the stairs, struck her head multiple times with what appeared to be a hammer, then grabbed the victim’s multicolored tote bag from her arm and fled the location.
Rothschild was rushed by EMS to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she remains in critical condition with a fractured skull, an intracranial hemorrhage and other cuts on her head, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
“This city relies on New Yorkers being able to take the subways in safety,” Katz said. “While the victim walked down the stairs into the subway, the male defendant in this case is accused of pouncing on his victim, shoving her forward, hitting her repeatedly in the head with a blunt object and then forcibly snatching her purse. This violence must stop.”
Defendant Denise Alston, of Keeseville Avenue in St. Albans, was also arraigned before Justice Cimino on March 25. Both Blount and Alston are charged in the same indictment with criminal possession of stolen property.
According to the charges, police recovered two credit cards in the victim’s name, two department store cards in the victim’s name and her New York City identification card allegedly from defendant Alston’s wallet.
“A second defendant is charged with using the victim’s credit card,” Katz said. “Both individuals will be held accountable for their alleged criminal actions.”
Justice Cimino ordered the defendants to return to court on April 11. Blount faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted. Alston faces up to four years in prison.