A 45-year-old Seattle man was charged with assault, attempted rape and burglary in connection with the Capitol Hill attack.
A 72-year-old Seattle woman was critically injured when she fought off a would-be rapist who followed her home and attacked her in her Capitol Hill apartment May 7, according to King County prosecutors.
Willie Spencer Sorrell, 45, was charged Tuesday with first-degree assault, attempted second-degree rape and first-degree burglary with sexual motivation in connection with the attack. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, jail records show.
In February, Sorrell was charged in two other cases — one in Seattle Municipal Court, the other in King County Superior Court — for grabbing women on the street hours apart, the charges filed in his most recent case say.
“The defendant represents an extreme threat to the community as evidenced by his violent attack on this 72-year-old female he followed home,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote in charging documents. “His assault and exposure to two other females … represented the beginning of this escalation of violent behavior.”
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Seattle police say Sorrell was high on meth when he saw the 72-year-old as she was walking on 16th Avenue and decided he could easily rob her for drug money, according to the charges. Police say he targeted her “because of her age and how small she was.”
The charging papers offer the following account of the attack:
When the woman entered her basement apartment, she let the door close behind her because her hands were filled with shopping bags. After leaving the bags in the kitchen, she walked to the back of her apartment as Sorrell entered through her unlocked door.
She returned to the front of the apartment to find Sorrell exposing himself before he threw her face-first to the carpet. He got on top of the woman and tried to turn her over, repeatedly punching her in the sides. But the woman fought back.
Unable to roll the woman over, Sorrell tried pulling down her pants.
The woman “cried out for him to stop” and repeatedly said, “Please don’t do this. I’m a mother. Please don’t do this,” the charges say. He eventually stopped and ran out of the apartment, and the woman called 911.
The woman has spent 10 days in the intensive-care unit at Harborview Medical Center, where she is expected to remain for another week, charging papers say. She suffered multiple rib fractures, a broken collarbone, a broken pelvis and a tear to her airway pipe, the papers say. The woman’s heart stopped Sunday, and she was revived, the charging papers say, and her condition remains grave, according to doctors.
Seattle police say Sorrell told detectives after his arrest that he was “surprised at how hard she fought him,” charging papers say.
Sorell was identified May 11 from a fingerprint left on the door jamb at the woman’s apartment.
He was arrested on Friday when he showed up for an appointment with his counselor at Sound Mental Health, about a mile west of where the woman lives, according to the charges.
That arrest was on a warrant for failing to comply with his probation after his March conviction for misdemeanor assault for grabbing a woman on Feb. 24, throwing her to the ground and getting on top of her.
A few hours after assaulting the woman, he grabbed another woman’s shoulder, exposed himself and chased her when she ran from him, according to the charges filed Wednesday.
That woman called 911 and police arrested Sorrell in the 400 block of 12th Avenue, say the charges in that case, which largely focuses on his alleged possession of 0.2 grams of methamphetamine and a glass pipe.
“Terrified, the woman was able to call the police and identify this stranger to law enforcement,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Montgomery wrote in charging papers.
In that case, Sorrell was charged in King Count Superior Court with felony drug possession and indecent exposure. Bail was set at $75,000, jail and court records show.