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Lancaster County man jailed for spray painting threats against a woman who testified against him on Millersville University buildings

Robert Dale Williams, 38, said he had a grudge against the victim because she "told on him," resulting in a prison term for aggravated assault in 2010.
Credit: Lancaster County District Attorney's Office
Robert Dale Williams

MILLERSVILLE, Pa. — A Lancaster County man will serve up to 10 years in prison for spray-painting threatening messages on buildings at Millersville University as a form of retaliation against a witness who testified against him in a previous aggravated assault case, according to prosecutors.

Robert Dale Williams, 38, of Millersville, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty on March 27 to felony charges of retaliation against a witness and three misdemeanors for the crimes, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office.

Williams will serve a prison term of 33 months to 10 years in accordance with a plea deal arranged by First Deputy District Attorney Travis S. Anderson.

Prosecutors say Williams was targeting a person who was affiliated with the University at the time. He spray painted messages like "DIE RAT DIE" and other terms -- including the victim's name -- on buildings around campus.

Williams had been released from prison about two weeks before the spray painted messages were discovered, according to prosecutors.

When interviewed by police, Williams admitted to being involved, telling authorities he had a grudge against the victim because she "told on him."

The victim testified against Williams in an aggravated assault case, resulting in his conviction in 2010 and a period of incarceration in state prison.

Williams also served time for a previous felony conviction, prosecutors say.

When police spoke to him, Williams had blue spray paint on his hands -- the same color paint that was found on the buildings. He was also found to be in possession of a bicycle that had been stolen from a university property, prosecutors say.

“Retaliation against witnesses and victims is extremely rare, but when it happens, we take the conduct very seriously,” Anderson said after the hearing. “This prison sentence includes a minimum term equivalent to the top of the defendant’s sentencing guidelines.”

Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro accepted the plea terms and ordered sentence. 

Williams appears via video.

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