South End

New details emerge in ‘nightmarish attack' of woman in Boston's South End

The victim of the attack was found by police covered in blood and crying, prosecutors said during the suspect's arraignment on Monday

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A Quincy, Massachusetts, man accused of assaulting a woman in Boston's South End on Saturday night is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing, after appearing in court on Monday for an arraignment.

Thirty-five-year-old Amos Sykes is facing several charges after his arrest, including strangulation or suffocation with serious bodily injury and assault with intent to rape. A not guilty plea was entered on Sykes' behalf.

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A motive was not revealed in court Monday, but prosecutors said the woman was seriously hurt.

The incident unfolded around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday in the South End; police said the woman was walking on Columbus Avenue, when she said the suspect grabbed her from behind, forced her to the ground and started attacking her.

A woman was violently assaulted in Boston's South End before bystanders stepped in to help, Boston police say.

Prosecutors said that several witnesses heard the sound of the woman screaming, and saw a man allegedly dragging her in a choke hold down the street, then punching her in the head as he sat on top of her.

Sykes threatened to shoot the witnesses, prosecutors said.

Police say the victim’s pants had been pulled down, and as Sykes was allegedly attempting to rip more of her clothing off, one man who lives nearby stepped in and began fighting off her attacker.

The Good Samaritan, whose name is Sam Holder, tells NBC10 Boston that he had to intervene once he went outside and saw a man punching and sexually assaulting a woman he heard screaming moments earlier.

"I've never seen anything like that before ever, her face was so bloody," Holder recalls. "I say 'get off of her.' he didn’t get off of her. He said, 'I have a gun, I'm gonna shoot.'"

"She got away once we started fighting, she got away," he added.

Shortly after Holder stepped in, officers arrived, arresting Sykes a few blocks away, after a short foot chase, according to police. Officers found the woman covered in blood, with lacerations to her face and injury to her nose, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said that several witnesses heard the sound of the woman screaming, and saw him allegedly dragging her in a choke hold down the street, then punching her in the head as he sat on top of her.

Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden issued a statement Monday, commending Holder's actions.

"This was a nightmarish attack that left the victim bloodied and bruised, and would likely have resulted in an even worse outcome if not for the extraordinarily brave intervention of a Good Samaritan."

"I thank Boston Police for their quick response and arrest and I am especially grateful for this Good Samaritan’s courageous action,” Hayden added.

Holder says he doesn't want any credit.

"I'm not a hero," Holder said. "What I am, I am happy that she's okay."

But he does want to know why so many other witnesses did nothing to help, calling it "disgusting" that he was the only one who jumped in to help the victim.

"Even after we started fighting no one jumped in," he said, adding that a lot of the witnesses did record video on their cell phones, which could be used as evidence in the case.

People who live in the South End neighborhood called the incident scary and say they are still concerned for their safety even though Sykes is behind bars.

“My fiancée works down the street and she passes right by that spot all the time, coming back from work and that’s unsettling," South End resident Salem Salem said. "It kind of makes me emotional because it sounds like that woman was attacked and that could have been my fiancée, it’s a scary thought for sure.”

"It's scary, it's scary," Bernadette Holder said. "It makes me really fearful for people who are just walking down the street."

Sykes is due back in court for a dangerousness hearing on Wednesday.

The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information on the incident was urged to call Boston police at 617-343-5619 or their sexual assault unit at 617-343-4400.

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