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District Attorney

Posted on: September 30, 2020

Man Jailed for Retaliating Against Witness by Painting Threats on University Buildings

RobertDWilliams

A Millersville man will serve up to 10 years in prison for spray-painting threats on several Millersville University buildings as a form of retaliation against a witness in a prior criminal case.

Robert Dale Williams pleaded guilty Monday to felony retaliation against a witness and three misdemeanors for crimes on March 27.

Williams, 38, will serve 33 months to 10 years in prison, in accordance with a plea agreement arranged by First Deputy District Attorney Travis S. Anderson.

Millersville Borough police determined Williams was targeting a person who, at the time, was affiliated with the university, by spray-painting ‘DIE RAT DIE’ and other messaging – including the victim’s name - on buildings.

“Retaliation against witnesses and victims is extremely rare, but when it happens, we take the conduct very seriously,” FDDA Anderson said after the hearing. “This prison sentence includes a minimum term equivalent to the top of the defendant’s sentencing guidelines.”

Police determined Williams was released from prison about two weeks before the crimes, according to FDDA Anderson.

Investigators interviewed Williams and he had admitted to being involved, and that he had a grudge against the victim because she “told on him.”

Williams had blue spray paint on his hands when police interviewed him – the same color paint found on the buildings. He also was in possession of a bicycle which was stolen from a university property.

Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro accepted the plea terms and ordered sentence. Williams appears via video.

Regarding the prior criminal case, the victim was a witness in that prosecution, which resulted in Williams being convicted in 2010 of aggravated assault.

He served a state prison term for that conviction and another prison stint for a felony drug conviction a few years later.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; bhambright@co.lancaster.pa.us; Twitter: @BrettHambright

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