THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER Enlarge | Buy This Photo
The man responsible for a series of sexual assaults last fall that prompted Toledo Public Schools to send warning letters home with students, was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday after entering a plea to multiple rapes.
Dressed in street clothing and tethered with a leg weight, Vincent Williams, 30, of 513 Adams St., entered an Alford plea to three counts of rape in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Under the negotiated plea, additional kidnapping and rape charges were dismissed, and he was ordered to serve an agreed-upon prison sentence.
Judge Gene Zmuda noted that although the sentence was a part of the plea negotiations, Williams received the maximum possible time on each count. “Mr. Williams is hardly getting a break,” the judge told family members of the victims who were in court.
Williams was found guilty of sexually assaulting three teenage girls — ages 17, 15, and 13. In each case, he approached them from behind, told them he had a gun, and forcibly led them to a nearby secluded area where he assaulted them, Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer Lambdin said.
Also in each case, the assailant told the victims not to tell because he knew where they went to school and where they lived, she said.
The 13-year-old was walking to school Nov. 5 when a man approached her on East Broadway and told her to do what he said or he’d shoot her. The other two victims were assaulted Nov. 19 — one as she was walking near City Park and Nebraska avenues, the other while on her way to Bowsher High School.
Ms. Lambdin said Williams was identified as the assailant after his DNA profile was linked to evidence in the incidents.
“This plea spares the victims from having to testify,” Ms. Lambdin said after the plea hearing. “He’s not going to get out until he’s 60 years old, and then he has five years of [postrelease control] oversight and has to register every 90 days for the rest of his life.”
Williams was arrested Nov. 26 and charged with 17 counts in two separate cases including rape, kidnapping, and intimidation.
Ms. Lambdin told Judge Zmuda that six victims were involved in all of the charges and that they, as well as all investigating officers, agreed with the negotiated plea. She noted that there were evidentiary concerns with the charges involving the three other victims, all adults. Had Williams pleaded to both rape and kidnapping charges, the sentences would by law have to merge.
In addition to the 30-year sentence, Williams was given the highest-level classification of sex offender and so will have to register in person every 90 days with the county sheriff after being released from prison, for the rest of his life.
Judge Zmuda also granted the prosecutor’s request that will guarantee that the community where Williams eventually resides will be notified that he is living there.
Neither Williams nor his attorney, David Klucas, made statements prior to Judge Zmuda’s imposing the sentence. In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime, but acknowledges that evidence is sufficient for a conviction. The court treats it as a guilty plea.
Williams had an extensive history of petty crime and traffic offenses and was in police and Lucas County Sheriff’s Office custody as recently as days before the Nov. 5 assault, according to court records.
No victims appeared at Monday’s hearing, but the cousin of one of the victims tearfully told Judge Zmuda that Williams’ actions affected not only the young women he assaulted but all those in their families. She said she was too upset to say any more.
Judge Zmuda said because it was an agreed-upon sentence, Williams waived any right to appeal his time in prison.
Contact Erica Blake at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.