CROWN POINT — A Gary man cleared of a 2018 rape charge because of DNA evidence pleaded guilty last week to a felony gun charge and could see an attempted rape case dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Brandon Williams, 36, faces up to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a level 4 felony.
Williams previously was convicted of felony battery in 2010 in Lake Criminal Court in a case stemming from a fight with a co-worker, defense attorney John Cantrell said.
A level 4 felony carries a sentence of two to 12 years in prison, with an advisory sentence of six years. Williams' sentence will be capped at seven years under the plea agreement, Cantrell said.
Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Maryam Afshar handled the state's case.
Williams was accused of raping a woman Aug. 30 in Gary's Aetna section, but prosecutors dropped the charges in April after DNA evidence cleared Williams of the allegations.
While the first case was pending, a woman saw a news story with Williams' photo and identified him as the man who robbed and attempted to rape her Aug. 8, 2017, in the 1500 block of Van Buren Street. Williams was charged in January in connection with those allegations.
Cantrell said police had the "wrong guy."
"That ID was clearly suggestive," he said.
Police found a gun on Williams twice, once during his arrest in August and again when he was arrested in January, Cantrell said.
Williams' trial in late April on the firearm count in the 2018 case ended with a hung jury.
Williams ultimately pleaded guilty to the charge. A gun charge in the January case is expected to be dismissed, Cantrell said.
Williams' sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 15 before Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez.