Aug. 16, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A third black teenager has been charged for attacking a white woman on an MTA bus in Woodhaven last month—as ugly details emerge about the alleged hate crime.
Jahnaiya Williams, 19, was charged in Queens Criminal Court Tuesday with assault and aggravated harassment as a hate crime, and other crimes, for striking 57-year-old Jill LeCroix in the head with a shopping bag containing a jar, prosecutors say. Williams also allegedly punched LeCroix.
Williams, of Waltham Street in Jamaica, Queens, threatened to kill LeCroix during the incident and also hurled anti-white epithets at her. Williams also spat at LeCroix, prosecutors say.
LeCroix, who is white, was riding a Rockaway-bound Q53 bus near Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard when she was allegedly attacked by Williams and two other black teenage girls, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
The District Attorney’s office did not name LeCroix as the victim but the grandmother of five identified herself at a rally condemning the attack in Woodhaven last month.
Williams is the third defendant to be charged in the case following the arrests late last month of the two other teenage girls — a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old. The three teens were riding the bus together when the incident unfolded.
“As alleged, the defendant, as well as two other apprehended individuals, carried out an unprovoked assault on a public transit rider simply because of the victim’s race,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
“I am committed to holding accountable those who perpetuate bias-motivated attacks on the residents of the most diverse county in the world.”
According to the charges, Williams, who appears to be the ringleader of the group, was riding the Q53 bus with the two teens at around 6:30 p.m. on July 9 when she approached LeCroix who was sitting at the rear of the bus.
Williams allegedly looked directly at LeCroix and said, “I hate white people.” She also stated during the incident that she hates white people’s skin, prosecutors said.
As the bus passed a cemetery, Williams said to LeCroix, “I am going to kill you, this is where I’m going to bury you.”
She also threatened to beat LeCroix with a jar from the victim’s shopping bag.
Next, as the bus came to a stop near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, Williams and the 15-year-old allegedly spat at LeCroix.
The incident then turned violent when Williams allegedly took LeCroix’s bag containing the jar and repeatedly struck her in the head with it.
Williams and one of her accomplices then allegedly punched LeCroix several times in the head before the trio fled the bus together.
LeCroix was taken to a local Queens hospital where she was treated for a deep laceration to her head that required three staples.
In total, Williams was charged with assault in the second and third degree as a hate crime, assault in the second and third degree, menacing in the third degree as a hate crime, aggravated harassment in the second degree and menacing.
She faces 3 1/2 to 15 years in prison if convicted and was ordered back to court on Friday.
Meanwhile, the 16-year-old, whose name has not been released, is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 24 to face charges of assault and aggravated harassment as a hate crime.
The 15-year-old girl, whose name has also not been released, is being tried as a juvenile in family court, prosecutors said. She has also been charged with assault and aggravated harassment as a hate crime.