HONESDALE – A 17-year-old boy who sexually assaulted and repeatedly stabbed an elderly woman was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in state prison.
Azaiah T. Williams, formerly of Tobyhanna, previously pleaded guilty to felony counts of criminal attempt to commit homicide and sexual assault.
“It was a heinous and extremely repulsive crime,” said court-appointed defense lawyer Richard Henry, though he noted he believes the defendant is remorseful and has redeeming qualities.
The sentence was imposed by President Judge Raymond L. Hamill on Thursday in Wayne County Court.
“The defendant represents the highest risk to our society and must be institutionalized,” District Attorney Janine Edwards said after the sentencing hearing.
The defendant, 15 at the time, was charged as an adult after the September 2015 attack on the 83-year-old Dreher Township woman, who is now 85.
Williams forced his way into the victim's house along Carlton Road, stabbing her numerous times with a seven-inch steel-blade steak knife and sexually assaulting her.
State police took the defendant into custody in Monroe County after one of his relatives found he possessed credit cards and other documents belonging to the victim.
The victim was put into a medically-induced coma and spent weeks in a hospital and rehabilitation.
She suffered two stab wounds to the back, two to the abdomen and one to her throat, in addition to various lacerations to her head, arms and chest.
The victim, whose name is being withheld due to the nature of the charges, has said she had no memory of the assault. She added she's had recurring health problems stemming from the assault.
Edwards said, “The defendant stole the last years away from an innocent, elderly woman's life with a heinous, intentional act.”
Williams also had a history of being uncontrollable, aggressive and violent, the DA said.
“I asked the court today on behalf of the victim and her family to place this defendant in jail for as long as he can under the law, and he did so,” Edwards said.
Williams expressed remorse for his actions, apologizing to the victim and her family.
Henry said, “It was a tragedy how this victim suffered,”
Henry had sought to have the case moved to juvenile court – where the penalties are less severe – but a judge ruled Williams would not be amenable to treatment in such a setting.