Two New Yorkers face a litany of charges in connection with a violent carjacking last month that left a man naked, beaten with a baseball bat and knifed in the legs, in a snowbank pleading for mercy, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Dwayne Hicks, a 27-year-old from Spring Valley, and Tnaiya Williams, a 26-year-old from New City, face charges of carjacking and conspiracy to commit carjacking in the Feb. 28 attack on the unnamed victim in Rockland County, officials said. They were arrested Saturday and are expected to appear in federal court later Monday.
According to a criminal complaint, Hicks lured the victim to a residence in New City under the auspices of having a small house party on the day of the attack. He was told to come alone and obliged, having had met Hicks in person before.
Once he was in the driveway, Hicks came outside to meet him and walked him to the back of the house, the complaint says. As the two were talking, Hicks allegedly punched the man in the face, then two other men, one of whom was carrying a baseball bat and both of whom were wearing masks, came outside.
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Hicks and the two other men allegedly started to beat the victim with their hands and the bat, at which point Williams came outside with a rainbow-colored knife and egged on the suspects, the criminal complaint alleges. Then the two defendants and two unnamed suspects menaced the victim into taking off his clothes and took his 2002 Honda Accord keys, his phone, $400 in cash, medical marijuana, bank cards and an unemployment card, the criminal complaint says.
They also grabbed a large knife from the victim's trunk and allegedly used it against him; Williams also allegedly yanked a gold chain from around his neck. Once the victim was naked, court papers say the group continued to beat him with their hands and feet, the baseball bat and the victim's own belt, which had a metal buckle. A request for alcohol briefly stopped the assault.
The request, though, was for rubbing alcohol. Williams allegedly went inside to get it and brought it outside. Then one of the assailants started to cut the victim's calves with one of the knives and put alcohol on the wounds, the complaint says.
The victim escaped on foot after a period of time and went to a house down the road to call cops for help. Hicks and two of the attackers left the New City home in the victim's car at that point, court papers say. Williams stayed at the home and told responding officers she lived there but refused to answer additional questions and closed the door on them a short time later, court documents say.
Video footage of the beating provided anonymously to police allegedly captured the horror. At one point, the victim is shown naked, his upper body in the front passenger seat of the Honda as his legs hang out the door. Multiple people are seen repeatedly striking him, using fists, the baseball bat and a belt. The victim's face is seen close-up and bloodied in the video footage, prosecutors say.
In another segment, an individual is seen holding up an iPhone and facing it toward the victim, who later identified that person as Hicks. The footage appears to show Hicks using the phone to communicate with a third party via FaceTime and simultaneously broadcasting the beating, investigators say in court papers.
Another piece of the footage shows an assailant pull the victim out of his Honda by the legs, while another shows him naked and bloody, on a pile of snow, pleading for the group to "stop" as Hicks allegedly hits and stabs him with a knife.
"As alleged, Dwayne Hicks and Tnaiya Williams took part in a brazen and brutal carjacking, inflicting grievous bodily injuries to the victim and leaving him for dead," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said in a statement. "Thanks to the FBI and the Clarkstown Police, Hicks and Williams are in custody and facing justice in federal court."
Hicks and Williams each face up up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count and another 25 years maximum in prison on the carjacking count. It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys who could comment on the allegations.
"As we allege, the subjects in this case committed unfathomable acts of violence when they brutally beat and stabbed a man, left him naked and bloody in a snowbank, and stole his car," FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney said in a statement. "I want to commend the quick action of our law enforcement partners and the FBI Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force in getting these assailants off the street before they could do more harm.”
“This heinous crime was not perpetrated on just one victim alone, it affected our entire community," added Clarkstown Police Chief Raymond McMullagh. "Though these types of crimes are thankfully uncommon in Clarkstown, the men and women of the Clarkstown Police Department were able to swiftly find justice for the victim and allay the concerns of the community."
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Walsh II credited the coordination of multiple law enforcement agencies with bringing down Hicks and Williams. It wasn't immediately clear if additional suspects were still being sought. Walsh vowed to "push forward with an aggressive prosecution" to help bring the victim closure.