Editor’s note: Details of the court documents may be too graphic for some readers.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Newly unsealed court documents detail the moments that led to the “exceptionally brutal” and ultimately deadly attack of a homeless man in Portland’s Old Town.
Twenty-one-year-old Elijah Williams has been charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of James “Tony” Wise.
Wise was found brutally injured near Northwest 3rd Avenue and Northwest Glisan Street just after 4 a.m. on Feb. 13. He died days later at Emanuel Hospital, where he had been pronounced brain dead, with his cause of death ruled to be blunt force trauma to the head.
The search warrant affidavit, which was first reported by The Oregonian/OregonLive on Thursday, alleges that surveillance video caught Williams walking to the scene of the deadly attack wearing white sneakers with blood on them from an earlier attack.
Furthermore, a witness at the scene of the incident said he had seen the stomping attack unfold from his fourth-floor apartment, according to the court documents.
The witness had “heard someone yelling ‘No stop,” and then walked outside on his apartment balcony to see “the suspect pulling himself up on a fence before kicking down at what appeared to be a body on the ground,” according to the affidavit.
The witness counted at least eight kicks before the suspect, later identified as Williams by police, walked away and talked to another homeless man, when the suspect “then ran back to the victim and proceeded to kick the victim repeatedly in the head, before bending down and punching the victim multiple times,” the affidavit stated.
Surveillance video caught Williams leaving the scene of the attack and then entering his nearby apartment building, the Shoreline Building on West Burnside, around the same time police responded to the scene, authorities said in the affidavit.
Furthermore, authorities said in the court filing that another man, identified as 39-year-old Thembelani Daniso, was found by police officers covered in blood from facial fractures in a Mercedes on nearby Northwest 2nd Avenue and Northwest Everett Street about an hour before the ultimately deadly attack on Wise.
A witness told police he saw a man, later identified as Williams, and another unidentified man “kicking and stomping” Daniso and had overheard one of the suspects saying Daniso “had something of theirs in his car,” according to the affidavit. Meanwhile, Daniso had reportedly told police that he had been at Shake Bar with friends that night before being assaulted.
Williams was ultimately identified after his probation officers identified him from a “dragnet” flyer using a screenshot from video surveillance footage, the affidavit stated. The search warrant was granted on Feb. 19 just before 1:30 p.m. and served hours later, according to court documents. He was arrested on Feb. 19 near Southeast 140th Avenue and Southeast Stark Street.
In addition to second-degree murder, Williams faces a second-degree assault charge.
A close friend of Wise’s family told KOIN 6 News in mid-February the 46-year-old suffered from mental health issues for most of his life, and those issues eventually led him to living on the streets of Portland when he left home four years ago and never returned.
“The family had been looking for him because they’d been wanting to help him, they’d been worried about him especially two years ago when the pandemic started,” Jaime Brown said.
During Wise’s autopsy at the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, as his head was moved during the examination, a ripple was created throughout his head due to the significant injuries, according to the search warrant affidavit.