82-year-old's assailant sentenced to 15 years prison

Man's crime spree included robbery, six stolen cars

By Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Nov. 29, 2006, 8:38 a.m.)

"Since the robbery, everything has changed. (Mother) is trying to block out what has happened, but at the age of 82, she is losing the battle. (She) has good days and bad days. More bad days than good."

Those words are in a letter to the court penned by the son of a town of Walworth woman who at gunpoint was robbed of $400 inside her home on Feb. 23.
The perpetrator, Rayshun D. Woods, also stole the woman's car that day, leaving a stolen car behind in her drive way.

"(She) is trying very hard to get past this, but she is in fear of this person returning," the son writes. "I have told her he is in jail and will never come back again. She asks me almost daily, 'Why did they pick my house? Who told them to come here? Why? Why? Why?'"

It appears Woods, 20, had some knowledge of the woman's house before he went there with a sawed-off .22 caliber rifle to burglarize it. He asked the woman for her money "in her tin box," according to the complaint.

"My mother is in fear that the people who told Rayshun to go to (her house) will tell someone else to rob her, also," the letter reads. "I must check on mother every day... I went there early one morning and found all the doors locked and barricaded.

"When the sun goes down she gets very scared."

On Tuesday, Woods learned he wouldn't be able to bother the woman anymore. Judge John Race sentenced the 20-year-old Milwaukee man with a troubled childhood to 15 years in prison and five years extended supervision for felony counts of armed robbery and armed burglary.

"We have a peaceful community," Race said. "We won't tolerate this type of conduct. I believe people who engage in this type of conduct should be put away for a long, long time."

Woods' criminal conduct extended for two weeks after the robbery.
According to the complaint, Woods is suspected of stealing a vehicle from Milwaukee, which was dumped in the town of Walworth on Feb. 28. Another local resident's vehicle was stolen that day.

That vehicle was found out of gas in the town of Whitewater, where Woods allegedly entered a residence by shooting out a window, according to the complaint.
Woods is suspected of stealing that homeowner's vehicle, which was later involved in a high-speed chase in Waukesha County. The driver fled on foot, but a .22 caliber rifle was found inside the car.

On March 7, the sheriff's department received a report of a suspicious person rifling through cars at a town of Darien residence, police said. Sheriff's deputies and city of Delavan police conducted a traffic stop and Woods was taken into custody for driving another stolen vehicle from the city of Milwaukee.
For those keeping tabs, that's six stolen vehicles.

A second armed burglary charge and five vehicle theft charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Milwaukee County authorities also agreed not to bring charges with the guilty plea.

"If he wants something he takes it by force, by weapon, by stealth," Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo said. "He does what he wants to do. That's not the way you're supposed to live in a civilized society."

Defense attorney Les Johnson said a troubled childhood explains why Woods went on the crime spree earlier this year.

Woods never had a role model and was diagnosed with several diseases at a young age, making him a target to his peers, Johnson said. His father was murdered when he was 10 and he put into a foster home at age 11 because his mother was a drug addict, Johnson said.

"I can't imagine anyone else being dealt a worse hand when they are brought into this world," said Johnson, who called Woods' situation "tragic."
Woods has an extensive criminal history. He was in prison already on Tuesday after violating probation from a 2004 assault conviction.

At age 13, Woods had his first run-in with police when he was cited with disorderly conduct. He made threats to blow up his school and slapped a teacher, Donohoo said.

Within a year of that incident, Woods had a burglary charge, stole a car and attempted to steal another car from camp for delinquent boys, Donohoo said.

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