NEW YORK — An ex-convict has been sentenced to life in prison for the sadistic, 19-hour rape and torture of a Columbia University graduate student.But let's look a bit further at his past shall we?
Robert Williams was convicted last month in Manhattan of attempted murder, rape, kidnapping and arson.
The victim managed to testify about her agonizing ordeal. Her tormenter scalded her with boiling water and tried to blind her with bleach. She was forced to swallow fistfuls of painkillers and ordered to gouge out her eyes with scissors. The attacker glued her lips shut and gagged her with duct tape before torching her apartment.
The defense had tried unsuccessfully to have Williams declared mentally unfit to stand trial.
Williams had his first brush with the law in 1990 when he was accused at age 13 of robbing someone in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. At 16, he was arrested on murder charges in University Heights, the Bronx. The dispositions of the cases weren't available because he was charged as a juvenile.So, we have another life long thug, let free to keep on with his life of crime. Another case where victims could have been spared their fate if only the criminal system had kept this animal locked up and off the streets.
On May 15, 1996, Williams tried to kill a man in Hamilton Heights while attempting to steal his platinum-and-diamond necklace. The victim, now a 41-year-old father of three, was shot in the back, chest and groin, records show.
"He grew up in the streets," the shooting victim told the Daily News. "He never had a job. He dealt some drugs, but robbery was his thing."
Williams was convicted of attempted murder and served eight years in prison, a span marked by a three-month stint in a psychiatric hospital and 28 prison infractions. State records show he threw feces at prison guards and beat up other inmates.
"We're relieved and thrilled that he was caught," said a classmate of the rape victim.