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Man admits to brutal attack on woman, 91

Published February 01. 2011 05:00PM

A Monroe County man admitted in Carbon County court on Monday to the brutal attack on an elderly Palmerton woman in which he raped and beat her.

Leslie James Setzer, 35, of East Stroudsburg, pleaded guilty to all criminal counts pending against him, including criminal attempt-homicide.

The incident was described by an attending nurse as the "worst case of rape and beating I have ever seen."

Setzer attacked a 91-year-old woman in her home on Nov. 28, 2009, raping and beating her. If Judge Steven R. Serfass accepts the recommendation contained in the plea agreement, he will sentence Setzer to serve 20 to 40 years in a state prison.

Serfass questioned Setzer extensively about his plea and the consequences before he accepted it. Serfass also told Setzer that he falls under the provisions of Megan's Law and will have to be evaluated by the state sexual offenders board to determine if he is a violent sexual predator. That would mean a lifetime registration as a sexual offender.

District Attorney Gary F. Dobias told Serfass that the plea agreement was reached after many hours of negotiation with Setzer and his court-appointed counsel, attorney Kent Watkins of St. Clair, and the victim's family.

Dobias told the court, "I met many times with the victim and her family. She has shown incredible strength and courage through this ordeal."

Dobias said the victim and family agreed with the stipulation that calls for the 20 to 40 year sentence.

Setzer answered Serfass' questions with a "yes sir." He only protested the account of what happened, as read into the record by Dobias, concerning putting a pillow case over the victim's head and tying her pants around her neck. He admitted, however, that he did attack her and committed the sexual acts as detailed at the preliminary hearing held in the matter.

On the day of the incident Setzer appeared at the kitchen door of the victim and asked to use the phone. She permitted him to enter her home at which time he gave her a card and a phone number to call. He then asked to use the bathroom.

On his way out Setzer touched the woman inappropriately and she ordered him to leave. As she turned away Setzer attacked her.

She attempted to fight Setzer off but lost consciousness.

When she woke up her left arm was bleeding profusely. She was in her bedroom and Setzer was continuing to attack her and that was when he raped her.

After that Setzer went to the bathroom and returned with a brush which he hit her with on her forehead at least two times.

She said Setzer then removed a pillow case, took the plastic cover and put it over her head.

After she came to, she looked around the room and thought she was alone. She then closed the door and locked it.

There was a phone in the room and she was able to call 911.

Officer Kevin Buck responded to the call and found the victim. He waited with her until medical personnel arrived to transport her to the hospital.

Buck spoke to the victim who told him what happened. As the victim was describing the assailant, a nurse told Buck that a male matching the description arrived at the emergency room wanting to sign himself in, stating he needed help.

Testimony revealed Setzer had been at the hospital in the past and had mental health issues.

Watkins told Serfass that his client had been examined by a psychiatrist and that the finding was that Setzer could plead guilty, but mentally ill. He said his client wanted to plead guilty to all counts without any mental health issue attached.

In addition to the attempted homicide charge Setzer also pleaded to rape (two counts), aggravated assault, simple assault, sexual assault (two counts), aggravated indecent assault (four counts), indecent assault (three counts) and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

Setzer is being held in the county prison on $1 million bail.

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