Defendant in purse-snatching case shows remorse
SHAMOKIN - A city woman charged with committing a strong-armed robbery before being chased down by several young people expressed remorse Tuesday about her actions, which she attributed to her addiction to crack cocaine.
After waiving her right to a preliminary hearing on two felony counts of robbery, Tonya Marie Williams, 44, of 19 E. Independence St., said she was sorry and plans to stay "clean" upon her release from prison.
Williams listened intently to public defender Melissa Norton as she explained her options at the defense table.
She then signed a waiver form and was ordered by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III to appear for plea court April 28 at Northumberland County Courthouse in Sunbury. Norton said the district attorney's office has made an offer calling for Williams to plead guilty to one count of robbery.
Asked for comment after the hearing, Williams stated, "I just want to do my time and get out. I wish it never happened and I never intended to hurt anybody."
Williams, who said the robbery was her first offense, has been undergoing counseling at prison and attending church services. "I hope to enter a plea in the case," she said.
The defendant, who formerly resided in Rhode Island, added, "I just want a fresh new life and a chance when I get out of prison."
Williams, who was wearing white socks, flip flops, a green hoodie and an orange prison jumpsuit, was recommitted to Northumberland County Prison in lieu of $50,000 cash bail after briefly conferring with her husband.
She was charged by Shamokin Cpl. Bryan Primerano with pulling a purse from a 49-year-old Shamokin woman and banging her head against a wall near Lincoln and Eighth streets at 1:23 a.m. Jan. 19 before running off.
The victim told police five teens riding in a Jeep on Eighth Street came to her rescue by intervening in the robbery and chasing and detaining Williams until police arrived.
The teens are Brennan Bruce, 18; Chelsie Cossari, 20; Michael Lorenz-Koons, 19, and Mason Dumond, 15, all of Shamokin, and Alex Witcoskie, 19, of Marion Heights.
They were commended by police and members of city council, who presented them with certificates of appreciation for their heroic actions.