South Jamaica teen arraigned on hate crime charges in Woodhaven bias attack: DA

south Jamaica
(Photo courtesy of NYPD)

The South Jamaica teenager who allegedly threatened to kill a Flushing grandmother and bury her in St. John Cemetery was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Monday evening, Aug. 15, after she was arrested in Coney Island earlier in the day.

Jahnaiya Williams, 19, of Waltham Street, is the third woman accused in the July 9 assault of 57-year-old Jill LeCroix as she rode on a Q52 bus toward the Rockaways. Williams was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Diego Friere on charges of assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and other crimes. One of the defendants, who is a juvenile, is being prosecuted in Family Court, and the other defendant’s case will go before a judge on Aug. 24, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

The DA said that according to surveillance footage and information provided by the complainant, at around 6:30 p.m. the three teenagers approached the victim as she sat near the rear of the Q53 bus headed southbound on Woodhaven Boulevard toward the Rockaways. Williams allegedly looked directly at the victim saying, “I hate white people.” She also stated that she hates white people’s skin. As the bus passed the cemetery, the defendant stated to the victim, “I am going to kill you. This is where I’m going to bury you.” Williams also allegedly removed a jar from her shopping bag and told the victim she would beat her with the object.

As the bus came to a stop near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, Williams and the juvenile both spat on the victim. The defendant then allegedly hit the grandmother of five repeatedly in the head with the shopping bag containing the jar. The defendant, along with at least one other partner, allegedly punched the victim several times in her head and then the three assailants fled the bus together, according to Katz.

EMS responded to the scene and transported LeCroix to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for treatment of her injuries, which included a deep laceration on the right side of her head which required three staples.

Two of the teens were arrested by members of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force on Tuesday, July 26, and charged with assault and harassment as hate crimes. Detectives from the Queens Warrant Squad took Williams into custody in Coney Island on Monday, Aug. 15.

“As alleged, the defendant, as well as two other apprehended individuals, carried out an unprovoked assault on a public transit rider simply because of the victim’s race,” Katz said. “I am committed to holding accountable those who perpetuate bias-motivated attacks on the residents of the most diverse county in the world. The defendant is now charged with assault as a hate crime and will be held to account for her alleged actions.”

Judge Friere ordered Williams to return to court on Aug. 19. If convicted, Williams faces up to 15 years in prison.