Former Convict Charged With Ferndale Assault

December 17, 1991|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

A Ferndale man charged last week with sexually assaulting, beating and robbing an elderly woman twice in three weeks was paroled in 1990 after serving five years in prison on similar charges, court records show.

On June 29, court records show, William Anthony Burgess was paroled from the Jessup prerelease unit after serving five years of aseven-year sentence for burglarizing, beating and robbing an 85-year-old Ferndale woman in her home on Dec. 6, 1985, and for attempting to rape a 32- year-old Ferndale woman the same day.

A District Court judge yesterday ordered Burgess, 34, held without bond.

Police say they arrested Burgess early Saturday morning after he returned to the 76-year-old woman's Ferndale home for the third time at about 2:15 a.m. and tried to pry the window open with a pitchfork. The woman knew Burgess, who lived in the 100 block of Linden Avenue in her neighborhood. When she called his name, he ran off.

Burgess was caught hiding alongside a house in the 300 block of Broadview Boulevard, police said.

The woman was too frightened to notify police after the first two attacks on Nov. 24 and 28, police spokesman Officer V. Richard Molloy said.

Molloy said she reported the second attack on Nov. 29. But she did not immediately tell detectives that she had been sexually assaulted, the police report showed.

"She was scared," Molloy said. "And she still is."

After the second attack, the woman was bruised and treated for a fractured spine. She told her daughter she was injured in a fall down the stairs, Molloy said.

But in telling her story to investigators Saturday, she said she was awakened the night of Nov. 24 by a noise in her dining room. When she went downstairs to investigate, she was grabbed by a man whotied a piece of clothing around her head and pushed her to the floor.

He took $30 from her purse and fondled her. After pulling the clothing off her face, she recognized her attacker.

Her attacker beat her and threw her around the room, police said.

Four days later he returned, put a pillow over her face and fondled her again before stealing $80 from her purse. He returned to her house a few hours later to retrieve a jacket he had left there, police said.

Susan Kaskie, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety, said Burgess was paroled in 1990 because he met the criteria: good behavior while serving his sentence, educational and vocational training, and having served more than a quarter of his sentence.

A member of the parole board recommended that he be released, Kaskie said.

An arrest warrant was issued Dec. 2, charging Burgess with violating his probation after he failed to appear in court on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and littering. His trial had been scheduled for Oct. 16.

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