Driver Pleads Guilty to Killing Nun in Harlem Crash

By Julie Shapiro on May 8, 2012 4:12pm 

Dyson Williams pleaded guilty to murder May 8, 2012, nearly two years after a getaway car he was driving plowed into a group of people in Harlem, killing an elderly nun.
Dyson Williams pleaded guilty to murder May 8, 2012, nearly two years after a getaway car he was driving plowed into a group of people in Harlem, killing an elderly nun.
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DNAinfo/Josh Williams

MANHATTAN — The man who drove a getaway car that mowed down an elderly nun in Harlem two years ago has pleaded guilty to her murder, the Manhattan District Attorney announced Tuesday.

Dyson Williams, 22, also pleaded guilty to robbery and assault for slamming into the nun as he fled from police after committing a string of robberies with an accomplice in June 2010, according to the DA's office.

Sister Mary Celine Graham, 83, was killed and four other people were injured in the crash at Lenox Avenue and West 122nd Street.

Williams will be sentenced May 30 and the judge is expected to give him 18 years to life, a source said.

"Murder was not committed with a gun or a knife in this case, but a car," District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement. "Before the deadly crash, the defendants in this case had embarked on [a] terrifying gunpoint robbery spree in Harlem. Dyson showed an utter disregard for human life and his actions had tragic and deadly consequences."

Prosecutors are still pursuing a case against William Robbins, 20, who is charged with committing the five gunpoint robberies with Williams in the early morning hours before the deadly crash.

Police stopped the pair's Chrysler Pacifica near West 142nd Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard after the fifth robbery and ordered Robbins, who was driving, out of the car, prosecutors said. After Robbins stepped out, Williams slid over into the driver's seat and raced away, prosecutors said.

Police followed, but by the time they caught up, Williams had already crashed into another car and a group of pedestrians, including Graham, about 20 blocks away.

Prosecutors are still pursuing a murder case against Robbins, even though he was not in the car when it hit the pedestrians.

Sister Celine Graham was on her way from the Handmaids of Mary Church to physical therapy with her aide, Patricia Cruz, when she was struck and killed by a car.
Sister Celine Graham was on her way from the Handmaids of Mary Church to physical therapy with her aide, Patricia Cruz, when she was struck and killed by a car.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

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