NEW YORK -- A man who cut into another's chest with a power saw in a subway station while other people fled for their lives won the victim's forgiveness Wednesday, just before being sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Tareyton Williams, 34, was sentenced on his guilty plea to second-degree assault for an attack on Michael Steinberg last summer. He must serve about 15 1/2 years before he is eligible for parole.
Steinberg, 65, told the court he forgave his assailant, although he nearly killed him, because it was the right thing to do.
The attack occurred shortly after 2 a.m. July 7, when Steinberg was on his way to work as a postal clerk. Williams grabbed a power saw from a cart used by workers in Manhattan's 110th Street and Broadway station.
Williams carved through three of Steinberg's ribs, punctured his lungs and stopped cutting about 3 inches from his heart without saying a word, Steinberg said. William then took his money and credit cards, "and he left me to die," he said.
Steinberg said city transit employees watched and never tried to help him. He said that they had allowed Williams to grab their equipment and that "they should be on trial as accomplices to what he did."
Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges reported shortly after the attack that a token booth clerk had immediately called police. The other workers were employed by a private contractor, he said.
"I forgive Mr. Williams," Steinberg said. "I want him to be aware of that. He must have major problems in his life."
He quickly added: "I don't forgive the transit authority."
Williams, given a chance to speak, said, "I want to apologize to Mr. Steinberg and his family for what happened. I feel real bad for what happened to his family, but I guess I'll pay for it."
Steinberg, in the courtroom's front row, said, "I accept your apology."
"Thank you," Williams replied.