HONESDALE, Pa. -- A teenager has been sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison in a sexual assault and stabbing of an 83-year-old woman in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Now-17-year-old Azaiah Williams was sentenced Thursday in Wayne County in the September 2015 attack, which occurred when he was 15 years old. Williams pleaded guilty in December to attempted homicide and sexual assault.
State police said he knocked on the victim’s door in Dreher Township and asked to use the phone, then stabbed her with a steak knife in the neck and back, sexually assaulted her and fled with a stolen credit card he would later use to buy sneakers.
“She innocently opened her door to a knock, and in that instant, her life was changed forever,” District Attorney Janine Edwards said, calling this type of crime “above and beyond all unforgivable.”
The victim wasn’t present, but her nephew said that before the attack, his aunt had enjoyed sewing and crocheting and drove herself to the market. Now, he said, she can no longer do those things, and “Her enjoyable life was taken from her in a matter of minutes.”
“I am sorry, your honor, for what I’ve done,” Williams said before sentencing. “My words cannot express how I feel.”
The boy’s attorney, Richard Henry, told the judge his client had some redeeming qualities, noting he had performed well at times in school and had once wanted to be an engineer.
Judge Raymond Hamill noted a difficult upbringing, with at least eight foster homes since his father wasn’t present and his mother had been incarcerated. But he also noted a mental health evaluation citing a history of deception, violence and an obsession with death and torture, and said nothing can excuse the youth’s actions.
“What are you thinking?” the judge asked Williams while recounting the attack. “What are you doing?”