BOSTON, April 13, 2017—A West End man pleaded guilty today to his role in a 2015 boating mishap that left a young woman with severe injuries including the traumatic amputation of her right arm, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
ALEXANDER WILLIAMS (D.O.B. 7/30/90) admitted to negligent operation of a boat, furnishing alcohol to minors, and tampering with evidence. Suffolk prosecutors recommended guilty findings on all counts, a 2½-year suspended sentence, five years of probation, and $5,000 in restitution for medical costs not covered by insurance or other compensation.
Suffolk Superior Court Linda Giles did not find Williams guilty but rather continued his case without a finding for a two-year probationary term. During that period, Giles ordered, Williams must make $5,000 restitution, complete a certified drug and alcohol awareness program, and perform 200 hours of community service at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center or similar facility. Giles further said that she would retain jurisdiction over Williams’ case in the event that he violates any condition of her orders.
Last week, Giles heard from both the injured woman and her mother about the nature and extent of her grievous injuries and the physical and emotional hardships they caused her. Giles today called their words “among the most moving impact statements I have ever heard in my 25 years as a judge.”
“You will rarely hear me complain about the incident, and you will almost never hear me complain about my disability, but that does not mean that it doesn’t kill me every time I look in a mirror, drop something, or accept help from someone,” the victim told the court. “I am a strong independent person; that’s something that has not and will never change. I don’t want help from other people, I don’t want people to think I am incapable of anything. I would rather struggle putting on a coffee coozie at Starbucks for 10 minutes and spill it everywhere when I open my car door than have anyone over me help. But to the world I am a damaged disabled person, so most times I will sacrifice my own pride and kindly accept the unwanted help, even though that itself is the most debilitating part.”
Had the case proceeded to trial, Assistant District Attorney Gretchen Sherwood of the DA’s Major Felony Bureau would have introduced evidence and testimony to prove Williams was among 13 people aboard the 30-foot Chaparral vessel “Naut Guilty” on May 30, 2015. In preparation of the outing, Williams obtained what he described as “enough liquor to kill a horse” for the boats’ passengers, which included six young women Williams knew to be under age 21, prosecutors said. Among the passengers was the then-19-year-old victim.
During the boating trip, the victim and others jumped into the water after the boat was anchored in the area of Spectacle Island. Williams, who did not have knowledge of how to operate the boat, started the vessel’s engine and failed to place it in neutral as the victim swam back to the boat and attempted to climb aboard. She was pulled underwater by the propeller, the evidence would have shown. As a result, the victim’s right arm was severed and she suffered severe lacerations to her left arm, legs, abdomen, and back.
Boston Police, Boston Emergency Medical Services, Boston Fire Department, State Police, Environmental Police, and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a distress call from the boat at approximately 7:45 p.m. and the victim was rushed to an area hospital for emergency surgery.
During the course of their investigation into the incident, Boston Police obtained a warrant to search Williams’ phone and arrived at Williams’ Longfellow Place residence on the morning of June 18, 2015. However, when officers received Williams’ phone, its contents had been erased, prosecutors said.
Michael Coffey is the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Williams is represented by Robert Goldstein. The case against the boat’s owner is pending in Suffolk Superior Court and is expected to go to trial later this year.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.