March 28, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A homeless man who is alleged to have brutally attacked a female city worker with a hammer at the Queens Plaza subway station last month has been charged with attempted murder and a slew of other crimes.
William Blount, 57, who resides at a Manhattan homeless shelter, was indicted by a grand jury and arraigned in Queens County Supreme Court Friday for allegedly bludgeoning the woman as many as 13 times over the head and back at an entrance to the Queens Plaza subway station, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
Blount has been charged with attempted murder in the first and second degree, assault, robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property.
He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Denise Alston, 57, from St. Albans, was charged in the same indictment with criminal possession of stolen property for allegedly using the victim’s credit cards the day after the attack. Alston faces 4 years in prison if convicted.
It is understood that Alston was not involved in the horrific hammer attack which took place on Feb. 24 at around 11:30 p.m.
Video of the violent incident sparked public outrage.
The footage allegedly shows Blount kicking victim Nina Rothschild, 58, in the back while she was walking down a flight of steps at the Queens Plaza subway station.
He then appears to pull out a hammer and hit Rothschild with the weapon around a dozen more times — striking her in the head and the back — while she clings helplessly to the arm rail.
Blount then allegedly grabs her bag and casually walks back up the steps before fleeing southbound on Queens Plaza South, police said.
Rothschild was transported by EMS to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center with a fractured skull as well as lacerations to the head.
Rothschild was attacked on her way home from work. She was coming from the NYC Health Department, where she works as a senior health scientist, which is around the corner from the subway station.
Her bag contained $120 cash, two rings, two cell phones as well as debit cards and credit cards, according to police.
District Attorney Melinda Katz said Blount is accused of pouncing on a defenseless woman.
“This city relies on New Yorkers being able to take the subways in safety,” Katz said.
“This violence must stop.”