SALEM — A Merrimac man charged with breaking into an elderly woman’s home in that town in July, then raping and stabbing her repeatedly, will remain held without bail following his arraignment Monday in Salem Superior Court.
William Raia, 50, of Merrimac Avenue pleaded not guilty to an 11-count indictment handed up last month by an Essex County grand jury.
The Aug. 12 indictment charges Raia with kidnapping, three counts of aggravated rape, a charge of assault with intent to rape, armed assault in a dwelling, strangulation or suffocation, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person 60 or older, assault and battery on a person 60 or older causing serious bodily injury, and breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony while placing a person in fear.
Raia pleaded not guilty to the charges during a brief proceeding Monday.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall filed a motion asking that Raia continue to be held without bail pending trial on the grounds that he poses a danger to the public if released.
While MacDougall did not go into the facts of the case Monday, she has previously said that Raia cut a screen at the Hillside Avenue home to enter it on the evening of July 3, then began to repeatedly sexually assault, strangle, beat and stab the woman. She tried to fend him off with pepper spray only to have him overpower her.
The woman was eventually able to flee to a neighbor’s home for help.
Police identified Raia through DNA collected from a beer can and a cigarette butt found at the crime scene. Police filed a criminal complaint and obtained a warrant to arrest him and he has been detained since his arrest July 19.
The case was subsequently presented to a grand jury for indictment, which moves the case to Superior Court. Most of the charges against Raia are beyond the jurisdiction of a district court.
That indictment starts anew the process of determining whether Raia poses a danger if released.
But his new attorney, William Sullivan, agreed to postpone a hearing on MacDougall’s request until next month. Raia will continue to remain in custody at the Middleton jail.
Judge Salim Tabit granted the request and scheduled a detention hearing for Oct. 13.