District Man Pleads Guilty to Armed Rapes of Two Strangers
Second Rape Occurred Outside a D.C. Middle School on Thanksgiving 2014
WASHINGTON – Paul Williams, 32, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to raping and assaulting two women in separate attacks that took place in Northeast Washington within a three-week period in November 2014, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips announced.
Both women were strangers that Williams and his accomplice, Rai-Jon Gerald, kidnapped off public sidewalks and forced into deserted areas, where Williams and Gerald sexually assaulted them. One attack took place on Thanksgiving Day.
Williams pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, and one count of armed robbery. The plea, which is contingent upon the Court’s approval, calls for a prison sentence between 35 and 38 years. It also requires the defendant to register as a sex offender for life upon his release. The Honorable Michael Ryan scheduled sentencing for May 27, 2016.
According to the government’s evidence, in the early morning hours of Nov. 7, 2014, Williams and Gerald planned to rob a convenience store at 49th Street and Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE. When a suspicious employee thwarted their plans, Williams and Gerald, armed with a BB gun that looked like a real handgun, walked eastbound down Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue. They soon spotted a woman walking alone, whom they approached. Gerald displayed the gun to the woman, while Williams grabbed her by the hair and forced her to the ground. Williams then put the woman in a headlock and dragged her into a deserted alley near an abandoned wooded lot. There, in the dark and amidst such debris as discarded mattresses and tires, Williams and Gerald orally and vaginally raped the woman. They also robbed her of cash and phones, and Williams threatened to kill her if she reported the assault.
Three weeks later, on Nov. 27, 2014 – which was Thanksgiving Day - Williams and Gerald again met up in the early morning hours to rob the convenience store at 49th Street and Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE. Once again, their plans were thwarted, causing them to head down Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue in search of other victims. They encountered a woman, who, like their first victim, was a complete stranger to them. Armed with a BB gun and Taser, Williams and Gerald assaulted the woman, robbing her of her purse and forcing her off the sidewalk toward tall bushes at nearby Kelly Miller Middle School. While Gerald led the way, Williams dragged the woman, repeatedly striking her in the head and face with his gun. Once behind the bushes, Williams forcibly removed the woman’s clothing and orally sexually assaulted her. Williams also attempted forced vaginal sex. Throughout, the woman fought back. In response, Williams continued to pistol whip her, as well as strike her in the face with his fists. Williams and Gerald Tasered the woman multiple times. With Williams’s assistance, Gerald also sexually assaulted the woman orally, and attempted to do so vaginally.
A neighbor heard the woman’s screams and the sounds of her being Tasered. He called the police, who quickly arrived on scene. Gerald escaped, but Williams was arrested nearby hiding in a yard. Williams has been in custody since his arrest.
Gerald, 20, also of Washington, D.C., was identified and arrested two months later, and he earlier pled guilty to first-degree sexual abuse, attempted first-degree sexual Abuse, and two counts of robbery. He is awaiting sentencing.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips commended the work of the detectives of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Division, the patrol officers who responded, and the crime scene officers who processed both crime scenes. He thanked the District of Columbia Forensic Nurse Examiners who examined the victims shortly after the assaults, the FBI’s Footwear Examiners, the forensic biologists and DNA analysts at Bode Cellmark Forensics and the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences, and Teel Technologies, which performed forensic analysis of the defendant’s phone.
U.S. Attorney Phillips also commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Veronica Vaughn; Paralegal Specialists Jessica Moffatt and Joyce Arthur; Legal Assistant Brendan Conye; Criminal Investigation Unit Investigator John Marsh; Information Technology Specialists Leif Hickling, Aneela Bhatia, Paul Howell, and Joshua Ellen; Investigative Analyst William Hamann, Witness Security Specialist Michael Hailey; current and former interns Allison Denton, Stephanie Dinan, Emma McArthur, and Marissa Moshell; former Paralegal Specialist Chantal Corrigan; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Morgan, and Assistant U.S Attorney Jodi Lazarus, who assisted with the initial investigation of the case.
Finally, U.S. Attorney Phillips thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys John L. Hill and Kara Traster, who investigated, indicted, and prosecuted the case.