FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM APRIL 1, 2022 • THE QUEENS COURIER 36
Homeless man indicted on attempted murder charges: DA
BY BILL PARRY
A homeless man from lower Manhattan was
indicted by a Queens grand jury on attempted
murder charges for the “brutal” bludgeoning
attack on a woman in Long Island City last
William Blount, 57, whose last known address
is in a shelter at the Radisson Hotel on
William Street, was arraigned March 25 before
Queens Supreme Court Justice Toni Cimino
on a 15-count indictment charging him with
attempted murder, assault, robbery, criminal
possession of a weapon and other crimes aft er
he allegedly attacked the 58-year-old victim as
she entered the Queens Plaza subway station.
According to the charges, at around 11:30
p.m. on Feb. 24, Nina Rothschild was heading
home from her job as a researcher at the city’s
Health Department when she was followed
into the subway station by Blount. As alleged,
the defendant began to kick the woman down
the stairs, struck her head multiple times with
what appeared to be a hammer, then grabbed
the victim’s multicolored tote bag from her arm
and fl ed the location.
Rothschild was rushed by EMS to NewYork-
Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center,
where she remains in critical condition with
a fractured skull, an intracranial hemorrhage
and other cuts on her head, according to
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
“Th is city relies on New Yorkers being able to
take the subways in safety,” Katz said. “While
William Blount was indicted in the bludgeoning attack of a woman in the Queens Plaza subway station last month.
the victim walked down the stairs into the subway,
the male defendant in this case is accused
of pouncing on his victim, shoving her forward,
hitting her repeatedly in the head with a blunt
object and then forcibly snatching her purse.
Th is violence must stop.”
Defendant Denise Alston, of Keeseville Avenue
in St. Albans, was also arraigned before
Justice Cimino on March 25. Both Blount and
Alston are charged in the same indictment with
criminal possession of stolen property.
According to the charges, police recovered
two credit cards in the victim’s name, two department
store cards in the victim’s name and
her New York City identifi cation card allegedly
from defendant Alston’s wallet.
Photo by Dean Moses
“A second defendant is charged with using the
victim’s credit card,” Katz said. “Both individuals
will be held accountable for their alleged
Justice Cimino ordered the defendants to
return to court on April 11. Blount faces up to
25 years in prison, if convicted. Alston faces up
to four years in prison.
Long Island City Fortune Society awarded $10 million grant for services and advocacy
BY BILL PARRY
Th e Fortune Society announced that philanthropist
MacKenzie Scott has awarded $10 million
to the Long Island City-based nonprofi t in
recognition of the organization’s more than half
a century of work supporting successful reentry
from incarceration, promoting alternatives to
incarceration, and advocating for reforms that
protect and help individuals impacted by the
criminal legal system.
Scott, who does not comment on her philanthropy,
is reportedly worth nearly $48 billion
following her 2019 divorce from Amazon
owner Jeff Bezos, who scuttled his plan to build
a massive HQ2 campus along the Anable Basin
on the LIC waterfront that same year.
Scott signed on to the Giving Pledge in which
billionaires are encouraged to give away half of
their wealth to philanthropic causes. In the last
year, Scott has donated more than $8 billion
to organizations such as Th e Fortune Society.
“With this generous gift , MacKenzie Scott
has chosen to invest in Fortune and in the
inherent potential in people regardless of their
pasts,” Th e Fortune Society President and CEO
JoAnne Page said. “Th is grant is an important
acknowledgment not only of our success in supporting
justice-impacted people with crucial
services and innovative housing but also for our
advocacy leadership in advancing justice and
equity, especially important at this time where
we are seeing pressure to roll back reforms and
return to a failed policy of mass incarceration.”
Th e Legal Aid Society condemned Governor
Kathy Hochul for attempting to undo critical
reforms to bail, speedy trial, discovery and Raise
the Age. Removing the Raise the Age legislation
would deny kids age-appropriate treatment, forcing
them to face adult consequences when they
are not adults. Th e Fortune Society is one of the
nation’s leading nonprofi t service and advocacy
organizations, serving approximately 9,000 impacted
New Yorkers in a typical year.
Its direct service programs have been recognized
nationally and internationally for their
quality and innovation.
“Fortune’s work has become more important
throughout its 55-year history as incarceration
rates have increased, most heavily burdening
communities of color disproportionately
impacted by the criminal legal system,” Th e
Fortune Society Board Chair Dennis Kozlowski
said. “MacKenzie Scott’s gift recognizes the efforts
Fortune makes not only to mitigate but
to eliminate the long-term harms that mass
incarceration infl icts on individuals, families,
communities and society as a whole.”
Th e nonprofi t’s local and state advocacy
eff orts, through the David Rothenberg Center
for Public Policy, aim to protect and support
justice-impacted individuals in the areas of
housing, parole, incarceration and the courts.
Page said the $10 million in funding would
strengthen the organization going forward.
“We are enormously grateful to MacKenzie
Scott for this grant, which will further our
mission to strengthen the fabric of our communities
and will anchor Fortune’s services and
advocacy in the coming years,” she said.
Photo courtesy of The Fortune Society
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott awards $10 million to The Fortune Society in recognition of their transformative
services and advocacy for the formerly incarcerated attempting to reenter society.