Officer Denny Wright testifies about the day he was attacked

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Police Officer Denny Wright took the stand Friday in the trial of the man accused of stabbing and blinding him back in 2019.

Keith Williams is charged with attempted murder and assault on a police officer. He’s accused of stabbing Wright in the face several times while Wright was responding to a domestic call on Peck Street on Oct. 4, 2019.

With Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley prosecuting the case, Wright testified that when he arrived at the home, a woman came out and said “I want him out of here.”

Wright said Williams was hiding under a bed in one of the rooms. Wright talked to Williams until Williams came out from under the bed before they both left the room. Wright repeatedly asked Williams if he needed medical help at a hospital. An ambulance was called.

Wright explained when they got to the living room, Williams appeared as if he was about to run out of the house. Family members came to the home to try to calm Williams down.

Wright says without warning Williams punched him in the face knocking him on his back. While on the floor, Wright noticed a knife under the bed which Williams grabbed and stabbed him in his left eye. He was repeatedly stabbed in his face, neck, hand, and lower back. Wright says he was also repeatedly punched in the face causing damage to his right eye.

While on the floor on his back Wright was able to disarm his weapon by dropping the magazine and firing one shot in the air. He was then able to fight off Williams and eventually subdue him.

Wright says he yelled for help while losing lots of blood. He said he was becoming very weak but able to hold Williams until civilians came to his aid. They held Williams down until police arrived.

The jury watched a body-worn camera video of the entire incident.

"That was one of the things that I had said to the jurors in jury selection from the beginning. They’re gonna be able to witness this crime in real-time, and they did," said Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley. "So these jurors are seeing the crime as it occurred, and it’s going to be up to them to interpret exactly what happened."

During cross-examination, Wright testified he chose to respond to the call. He was not dispatched by 911 operators and received no warning about mental health concerns.

Wright says he believed he initially didn’t need backup because the caller never called back wondering where the police were after waiting for them to come to her home.

The defense had contended Williams was having a mental health issue. News10NBC asked Doorley if the defense’s claims could affect the outcome of the prosecution’s case.

"We’ll see what the defense is, and we’ll see if they offer an affirmative defense. You know we’re just going to put on our case. We believe that these were certainly intentional acts, and I think as you see from you know the body-worn camera video there were purposeful, and they were intentional," Doorley said.

Williams previously rejected a plea agreement for aggravated assault against a police officer and 25 years in prison, leading to his trial.

The trial will continue on Monday.