Lancaster County man convicted of beating, sexually assaulting woman in 2017 denied new trial

LANCASTER COUNTY — A Lancaster County man serving a 27-year prison sentence for beating and sexually assaulting a woman in 2016 was denied a new trial by the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

William K. Lawrence was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to 10½ to 27 years for binding the woman and beating and sexually assaulting her in August 2016 at her Manheim Township home.

Lawrence argued that the woman’s statements to a neighbor — made as she was fleeing from Lawrence — should not have been heard by a jury. He also argued his conviction went against the evidence, the DA’s office said.

The victim told the neighbor that Lawrence tried to kill her and raped her.

The state court rejected Lawrence’s arguments, pointing out that trial evidence showed Lawrence tried to persuade the victim from going through with the court case.

In fact, Lawrence successfully kept the victim from testifying at trial. Assistant District Attorney Susan Ellison, who won the conviction, presented the victim’s prior statements to police in place of her taking the witness stand.

Lancaster County Judge David Ashworth ordered the sentence, while noting Lawrence’s lack of remorse.

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