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Man who served 20 years in SC prison is arrested in NYC for smashing woman’s head with a hammer


Noah Feit

The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Mar. 3—A man who served more than a decade in prison in South Carolina was recently arrested in New York City for attacking a woman with a hammer, according to law enforcement officials.

On Sunday, 57-year-old William Blount was charged with attempted murder and other crimes after New York police said he smashed a woman on the head with a hammer 13 times before stealing her bag at a subway station, the New York Daily News reported.

More than 21 years ago, Blount was involved in a jail break from the Richland County Detention Center when a guard was killed, The State previously reported.

While he was not prosecuted in the death of jail guard Alvin Sherman Glenn, Blount was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for other crimes in South Carolina.

The attempted jailbreak

Blount was arrested on July 2, 2000, Richland County court records show.

He and his brother were taken into custody after they broke into a Bojangles fast food restaurant, where they kidnapped two employees and made one open the safe, NBC New York reported.

Blount was charged with burglary, armed robbery with a deadly weapon, grand larceny, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, and two counts of kidnapping, according to court records.

Both Blount and his brother were being held at the Richland County jail, which is now named in memory of Glenn.

On Sept. 17, 2000, the 59-year-old Glenn was killed by inmates during an escape attempt.

While awaiting trial on the armed robbery charges, Blount and his brother, along with a third man who was a murder suspect, overpowered Glenn as he performed the nightly 11 p.m. head count, The State reported.

The detainees locked Glenn’s hands together behind his back with his handcuffs and bound his feet before beating and strangling him, The State reported.

During the attempted jailbreak, Blount jumped from the detention center’s roof and broke both ankles, according to NBC New York.

The three inmates made it to a fence outside the jail where they were captured, The State reported.

Glenn was “someone who cared about Richland County,” Sheriff Leon Lott said in September 2021. “I want people to remember him.”

Crime & punishment

On Sept. 22, 2000, Blount was charged with attempted escape, an inmate taking a hostage, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy, according to court records.

More than two years later, in December 2002, Blount pleaded guilty to the burglary, armed robbery, weapons possession and both kidnapping charges from the Bojangles incident. He was given 15-, 20-, 5-, 20- and 20-year concurrent prison sentences for the respective charges, according to court records.

The grand larceny charge from the armed robbery was not prosecuted, court records show.

At that same December 2002 court appearance, Blount also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge from the jailbreak. He was given a 3-year prison sentence that ran concurrent with his punishment for the other crimes that originally landed him in the Richland County jail, according to court records.

But a month later, the remaining cases from the attempted escape were closed when they were not prosecuted, court records show.

Law-enforcement sources said Blount served 18 years of his sentence, the New York Post reported. After being released from prison in November 2018, Blount served the last two years of his sentence on supervised release, the S.C. Department of Corrections said.

Now, Blount is facing attempted murder, robbery and assault charges for the attack in New York, CNN reported.

“Particularly horrific”

At about 11:20 p.m. on Feb. 24, Nina Rothschild was attacked from behind as she descended the stairs at the Queens Plaza subway station, according to the Daily News.

Police said a man “carrying a cane and shrouded in a black coat with a hood” kicked the 57-year-old Rothschild in the back before repeatedly hitting her with a hammer until she collapsed, then taking her bag and running away, the Daily News reported.

Police said Rothschild, a scientist for the New York City Department of Health, was left bleeding from the brain, with facial lacerations and a fractured skull — which her brother said was partially replaced by wire mesh, according to CNN.

Rothschild was in critical condition at a hospital, the New York Fox affiliate reported. Further information on her condition was not available.

“Violence against any New Yorker is unacceptable but an attack of a city worker who has dedicated her work to keeping people safe is particularly horrific,” New York Mayor Eric Adams tweeted on Feb. 25.

On Sunday, Blount was arrested at a homeless shelter in Manhattan after a tipster recognized him, CBS News New York reported.

The man behind the jail’s name

Glenn first came to Richland County as an Army recruit, The State reported in 2000. He trained at Fort Jackson and came to love the area, his family said.

He was part of a “big, close family” and was a “great father,” his family said.

Glenn had a 30-year Army career and retired as a sergeant major. He came back to Columbia after the retiring from the Army.

Glenn went to work at the jail in 1995 to give him “something to do,” a family member said in 2000.

He never mentioned any problems with inmates or complained about his guard job, Glenn’s family said.

On the night Glenn was killed, other inmates in the jail tried to save Glenn by performing CPR, Lott previously said.

“He was the best I ever worked with,” a fellow guard said after Glenn’s death. “He always had a kind word and always wore a smile.”

Staff reporter Travis Bland contributed to this story.


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