ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The man who was convicted last month of trying to kill a Rochester police officer in 2019 was sentenced to 40-years-to-life in prison Wednesday.

Keith Williams was found guilty in May 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.

Williams was found guilty of stabbing Rochester police officer Denny Wright in the face and lower body two and a half years ago. As a result of the attack, Wright lost his eyesight.

Judge Alex Renzi handed down the max sentence for Williams on Wednesday.

A large crowd of law enforcement was in the courtroom to support officer Wright for the sentencing. Before the sentence was handed down, Wright’s wife offered a victim impact statement to the courtroom, as did Wright’s daughter — who gave an emotional hug to her father before he too addressed the courtroom.

“I am very proud that none of his [Williams] family members were injured and none of the other officers who responded were injured,” Wright said.

Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley also addressed the courtroom, speaking about Williams’ extensive criminal record prior to the attack on Wright.

Williams’ defense attorney also spoke and called for the court to consider a sentence in the 25-year range — which would have been offered as part of the plea deal that Williams denied. He described Williams’ actions as a failure on behalf of the health care system.

Before the sentencing was announced, Judge Renzi asked Williams if he’d like to address the courtroom, and he did so but spoke so softly that most of his words were inaudible to those in attendance.

The judge then addressed officer Wright and said, “I know you can hear me and I believe you can feel the love for you in this room.”

Williams was deemed competent to stand trial in 2020 in connection to the charges he’s faced in connection to the October 4, 2019 incident on Peck Street.

During the trial, Williams testified in his own defense. He 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.

On that same day, D.A. Doorley 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.”

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.

Full Sentencing

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