Head bowed, his eyes avoiding the attorneys and court staff focused intently on him, Anthony G. Williams paused after the judge asked if the violent narrative of him robbing and raping a Beacon Hill woman in 2012 was true.
After a moment of silence, he uttered a deep, trembling: “Yes.”
Williams was sentenced Friday to 18 to 22 years in state prison for the Nov. 10, 2012, rape of a 28-year-old woman, who prosecutors say had been returning home from a local restaurant when he forced his way into her apartment, robbed and raped her, and left her tied to the pipe beneath her sink.
“These crimes were every woman’s worst nightmare,” said Suffolk Superior Court Judge Linda Giles before delivering her sentence.
After hearing a victim impact statement, read by the prosecutor, the judge returned to her chambers before handing down Williams’ sentence.
“No amount of years in prison, I’m sure, will ever be able to satisfy this victim,” she said.
Prosecutors say the woman was returning to her Beacon Hill home just after 2 a.m. when Williams came up behind her and forced her inside the apartment.
Once inside, Williams turned off the lights and repeatedly ordered the woman not to look at his face. After taking jewelry, an iPhone, and an iPad, Williams raped the woman before tying her to the pipe and demanding the personal identity number for her ATM card.
“He told her that if the PIN number was not correct, he would come back and kill her,” District Attorney Holly Broadbent said as she walked the judge through details of the crime.
During their investigation, police released images of a man they identify as Williams using the victim’s ATM card at several banks. Police received several tips, including one from someone at a homeless shelter where Williams sometimes stayed, and took him into custody.
At the time, the violent attack stunned Beacon Hill, and Boston police stepped up patrols for the two weeks that Williams remained at-large.
More than a year after his arrest, Williams withdrew the not-guilty plea entered at his arraignment in November 2012 and admitted Friday to charges of aggravated rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, armed burglary, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Wearing a white T-shirt, Williams softly pleaded guilty as all five charges were read. Brought to the judge’s bench to review his change of plea, Williams never lifted his head, staring first at the floor and later at the wooden court podium.
Four of the five charges carried the possibility of a life sentence, but as part of an agreement between prosecutors and the defense team, Williams received prison time for the rape alone. After serving that sentence, he faces probation, electronic monitoring, and drug treatment for the remaining four charges.
His victim did not appear in court, but Broadbent read a victim impact statement in which she described the trauma she suffered during and after the attack.
“For 43 minutes, I didn’t know if I was going to get out alive,” the woman wrote in the statement. “Anthony Williams took away my home and feeling of security in the City of Boston.”
The victim wrote that she stayed out of the city for the two weeks after her attack, not returning until Williams was captured.
Even then, she wrote, he had robbed her of her ability to feel secure.
“I was embarassed by the shock value that my story carried and deeply frightened by the fact that such a dangerous person with a past history of severe harm to others was inside my home,” she wrote. “It is with great relief that I know Anthony Williams will be sentenced to prison for this evil experience.”
Sentencing guidelines recommended a 12- to 18-year sentence for Williams, but prosecutors sought up to 28 years, citing Williams’ previous criminal record.
Williams’ rap sheet stretches back to the 1980s and includes a conviction for the 1996 rape of a woman in Salem, a crime for which Williams was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in state prison.
“Our recommendation went well beyond the average sentencing guidelines for two reasons,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. “First, this crime was not average. It was as vicious and terrifying as can be imagined. Second, the defendant had just finished a lengthy state prison term for the same offense. He has additional convictions for crimes of violence against women. He needs to be taken off the street and away from society.”
Defense attorneys argued for a softer sentence that would have put Williams behind bars for 18 to 20 years.
“Mr. Williams is [46 years old],” defense attorney Kelli Porges told the judge. “The sentence we’re asking for could very well be a life sentence for him.”
After thinking it over in her chambers, Giles handed down the 18-to-22-year sentence — which means that Williams will be behind bars until at least his mid-60s.
Asked if he understood the implications of his guilty pleas — that he would not get a trial and would probably be incarcerated for much of the rest of his life — Williams’s response was short and simple:
“Yes.”Wesley Lowery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery.