MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ/AP) – A convicted burglar has been sentenced to 20 to 48 years in prison in the 2011 rape and robbery of an 80-year-old woman at her metro Detroit apartment.
William Harrison apologized before he was sentenced by Judge Mark Switalski Wednesday in Macomb County Circuit Court. The 31-year-old pleaded guilty in February to first-degree criminal sexual conduct, home invasion and armed robbery. The plea came a day before he was scheduled to go on trial.
The woman was attacked Sept. 13, 2011, at the Heritage Estates senior citizens’ complex, at 18 Mile and Hayes roads in Clinton Township.
She appeared in court Wednesday and in a statement read by a victim advocate said she wishes Harrison would have to spend the rest of his life in prison.
“I was just getting my life back in order from the passing of my husband when this intruder came into my home, destroying it all again,” she said. “Whatever punishment he receives will not be good enough to satisfy me, but at least it will save some innocent person from going through what I am now.”
Police say Harrison gained entry to the unlocked apartment through a window and awoke the woman who was sleeping in her bed around 11:15 p.m.
Through sobs and tears, the alleged victim testified on the stand during a preliminary exam, saying Harrison told her he needed money for ransom for his daughter who had been kidnapped. The woman, who was not named, said Harrison told her to open the safe in a closet and then locked her in the bathroom while he went through her jewelry, vials of pain medication and personal paperwork.
The woman testified that Harrison then ordered her to her bedroom where he raped her as she yelled for him to take her things and leave.
“He was covering me completely and I had a pillow over my head and I was screaming, but I thought at first I was dreaming,” she said. “But I screamed and he held my hands and told me to stop screaming or he would have to use this [a weapon].”
Harrison wasn’t identified as the suspect until about three weeks after the incident, when Clinton Township police discovered he had pawned some of the woman’s stolen jewelry.
Harrison, who was on probation in two different courts at the time of his arrest, has an extensive prior criminal record, although none of his convictions involved assault.
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