ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Monroe County jury convicted Keith Williams on all four counts Wednesday in relation to the attack on a Rochester police officer in 2019.
Williams was found guilty of attempted aggravated murder of a police officer, attempted murder in the second degree, aggravated assault upon a police officer, and assault in the first degree. He will be held without bail until sentencing on June 8. After the verdict was announced, Williams was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
“The last thing that the jury asked for was a play-back of the body-worn camera and they were looking for that small portion where the defendant said ‘I am going to kill you,'” said Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley. “For that to be played over and over again was the final moment when they all reached their verdict.”
Prosecutors said Williams stabbed Rochester police officer Denny Wright in the face and lower body two and a half years ago. As a result, Wright lost his eyesight in the incident.
“Having this off my back — will relieve a lot of stress,” Wright said. “I will continue to strive to find purpose and be involved as much as I can with the department, the academy, and the community. The community deserves thanks just as much as anyone else.”
On Tuesday, Williams testified in his own defense.
Williams said he was hearing voices in his head on the day officer Wright responded to his house. Williams said the voices in his head were telling him to get killed.
Williams added that he was previously diagnosed with bipolar disorder and doesn’t remember his encounter with officer Wright. He said he smoked marijuana earlier that day before the altercation.
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley then called a rebuttal witness; a Monroe County Jail deputy who testified that he heard Williams say he was going to pretend he was crazy and that he “stabbed a bitch ass police officer.”
The judge and Doorley told the jury “intent” is a big factor in this whole case and what matters here are the actions of Williams at the moment.
“Intent doesn’t mean premeditation. It means did you intend the consequences of your actions at the time you were committing the offense. So, when we was stabbing Officer Wright, did he intend to kill him? Did he intend to hurt him? That’s where the intent comes into play,” Doorley said.
If convicted, Williams faces 40-years-to-life in prison.
This was not Williams’ first run-in with local law enforcement as he was in and out of courtrooms many times throughout 2019.
Officer Wright underwent surgery on the day of the attack and spent the next three weeks receiving treatment at local medical facilities.
In an interview with News 8’s Adam Chodak, Officer Wright spoke about the challenges of overcoming the injuries and what’s next for himself and his family.
“I’ve been doing exceptional considering the circumstance that I’m currently in, it’s a big learning curve to all-of-the-sudden-loss of eyesight, but it is a doable situation and I’m moving forward and learning every day,” Wright said.
Wright has spent more than two decades with the Rochester Police Department and is well respected for his community outreach, which includes dancing with Rochester City School District students in his wife’s classroom. Wright’s wife, Sonia Lagares-Wright, is an RCSD teacher who won a Golden Apple award in 2017.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.