A Brooklyn Park woman who was charged in a violent assault and robbery of an elderly Somali woman in Minneapolis earlier this month has been released on bail, raising fears and safety concerns for the victim.
Charges against Da’Seanna Destiny Williams, 21, say that she followed the 76-year-old victim, who has since been publicly identified as Halima Farah, into her apartment building then shot, beat and robbed her for the rent money she was carrying.
The incident took place on Saturday, Jan. 2, just after noon inside an apartment building on the 1700 block of East 22nd Street in Minneapolis, according to information from the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
The statement released by MPD states that Williams beat and pistol-whipped Farah so severely that a piece of the gun she was using broke off and remained at the scene and was collected by police along with a discharged bullet casing. Farah’s purse was later found outside with $900 in cash missing.
Details in the criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County state that the victim (Farah) suffered bone fractures to her shoulder blade and skull, hemorrhages in two different places inside her skull and a laceration to her forehead that required sutures. Farah also had a through-and-through gunshot wound to her upper thigh/buttocks area, according to the medical report referenced in the complaint.
Williams was identified as the assailant after further investigation and review of surveillance video. A search warrant was subsequently obtained by police to search Williams’ apartment in Brooklyn Park. When police arrived, Williams was attempting to flee out the window but was ultimately stopped, the complaint said.
Police say that during the search they found a gun under Williams’ mattress with a missing trigger guard that appeared to have been broken off. The complaint said that police also found crack cocaine inside the apartment.
Williams ultimately admitted to police that she assaulted and robbed the elderly woman.
CHARGES AND BAIL
Williams has been charged in the case with felony counts of first-degree aggravated robbery and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Williams was granted a public defender at her initial court appearance and was held on a conditional release bail amount of $50,000.
Williams remained in Hennepin County Jail for several days until the $50,000 bail amount was posted and she was released from custody.
In an interview posted online Monday, Farah told WCCO through a translator that she was “terrorized” by the incident and seemed puzzled that Williams was released on bail.
“She is out there, [and] there is nothing we can do,” said Farah, who told WCCO that she is staying inside because she is still so scared.
A check of courthouse records by Alpha News did not reveal who provided the bail amount for Williams, but the records indicate that an Internal Revenue Service Form 8300 was filed on her behalf. The IRS requires the form to be completed if a person receives over $10,000 in cash in a single transaction.
The court record entry for Form 8300 is not typical and has been included in court records of other suspects charged with violent crimes who were subsequently bailed out by the Minnesota Freedom Fund in recent months.
The nonprofit gained notoriety during last spring’s fiery riots in Minneapolis after raising over $30 million dollars, much of it via celebrity donations. The organization solicited the donations during the riots on the premise that the money would be used to bail out protesters arrested during the demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd.
Since that time, however, it’s been reported that only a miniscule amount of the funds raised by MFF have been used to bail out protesters. Instead, the organization has used the funds to bail out several Minnesota offenders charged with violent crimes, including murder, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault and kidnapping.
MFF did not respond to an email inquiry asking whether it provided or arranged the bail funds for Williams.
Williams made headlines early last year when she was charged in February in a series of thefts in which she and an alleged accomplice, Clarence Kentrell Carter, were accused of targeting an apartment complex in Crystal. In that case, Williams was charged with felony counts of mail theft, receiving stolen property and possession of stolen checks, as well as one misdemeanor count of theft.
Court records show that the Crystal theft case against Williams has not been adjudicated. The record states that Williams was instead placed in a “diversion” program in June, and an agreement was entered into the record indicating that prosecution was suspended.
At the time of the suspension agreement, Williams was facing charges in two other cases in Hennepin County in March involving pawning the property of others. Those two cases have been repeatedly delayed. The court records cite the “pandemic event” and are still pending. Williams was also convicted in Ramsey County last March on misdemeanor theft. She was given credit for three days spent in jail and was placed on probation for a term of one year in that case.
In September, Williams was charged in another new case with domestic assault and disorderly conduct. Williams was subsequently conditionally released from custody on zero bail. Williams failed to appear for a scheduled hearing in December in that case, and a warrant was issued for her arrest. Following the arrest, Williams was again released on zero bail by Judge Karen A. Janisch just two weeks prior to the assault on Farah.
Williams is scheduled to make her next court appearance in all the open cases, including the new assault case involving Farah, on Feb. 2.
– – –
Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.