Prolific offender to be released early for brutal Kirkland hate crime

May 17, 2019, 3:35 PM | Updated: 6:04 pm
hate crime...
Convicted hate crime perpetrator William Kraft at his sentencing. Kraft was convicted of attacking an Indian man in Kirkland in 2017 while yelling racial slurs. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

Sandeep Ray could not get the image of his attacker out of his head after he suffered a sudden, violent hate crime in the parking lot of a Kirkland Safeway.

Now Ray has been informed that his assailant, who had 17 previous felony convictions over 13 years, will walk free a year earlier than expected — and Ray fears that another innocent person of color will be this criminal’s next victim.

One evening in September 2017, Ray was walking out of the Safeway on 124th Avenue Northeast with a pizza when a man who had just been thrown out of the store spotted him and began yelling racial slurs.

“I just ignored him because I was not in a mood to fight,” said Ray, an American citizen. He noted that the man “looked homeless.”

RELATED: Police commander says prosecutor’s office goes too light on repeat offenders

As the perpetrator, William Lee Kraft, got more aggressive, Ray asked the man to leave him alone.

“Before I could do anything, I felt a big bump on my head … he hit me with a rod, and he momentarily impaired me, and I [knelt] down,” Ray told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show.

From this point onward, the attack was recorded by a bystander. Ray shared the cell phone video with KIRO 7 TV; it can be viewed below (warning: violent content).

Kraft repeatedly kicked and punched Ray’s head, pinned him to the ground, and then tried to choke him with a t-shirt, all the while yelling racial slurs.

“I was thinking that I will die, because for five to 10 seconds, I couldn’t breathe,” Ray said. “Anything could have happened. And just immediately after that, he put seven or eight right-hand punches to my left forehead.”

At this point, the bystander filming the video intervened, and Kraft ran off with Ray’s pizza.

Although the attack was over, the scars of it remained for Ray. He suffered a concussion and described his forehead as swollen up “like a potato.” He was unable to return to work for a week and remained in such excruciating pain for weeks afterward that he even thought at times, “[Kraft] should have killed me that night, then it would be over for me.”

Kraft was convicted of second-degree assault; malicious harassment, the charge for a hate crime; and theft (of the pizza). He was sentenced this spring to five years in jail, the maximum sentence.

For the man who can still clearly remember the feeling of terror as he was being choked, the convictions were not strong enough.

“It should have been attempted murder,” Ray said.

He noted that according to police reports, Kraft had told officers upon his arrest that Ray was lucky he (Kraft) hadn’t killed him.

Ray was even more appalled to learn in a recent letter from the Department of Corrections that Kraft will likely be released in October of next year for good behavior — a year early.

“I was totally surprised, I fell from the sky … This guy shall do this again, he shall [commit] crimes again,” Ray said.

Kraft had done time for a year and a half before the conviction, so at the time of his probable release, he will have spent approximately four of the five years behind bars.

Based on Kraft’s long criminal history, which includes convictions of violent crimes, Ray does not believe the attacker will change his ways in the next 17 months. He observed during the sentencing video that Kraft “showed no remorse” and even smiled.

“I think this guy is a never-ending story,” he said.

Now, Ray worries that after Kraft’s release, he will carry out another violent hate crime against a person of color; the next time, Ray fears, it could be deadly.

“He will choose another victim, and I don’t want this to happen to someone else,” Ray said. “He’s a very dangerous criminal — he’s a danger to the community.”

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Dori Monson stage show...
MyNorthwest Staff

Watch: Dori Monson’s ‘What are the Odds?’ stage show

In 2019, Dori Monson hosted a stage show - 'What are the Odds?' - which introduced you to the people who helped shape his improbable career.
1 month ago
Dori Monson welcomes the Moose back to KIRO. Follow @
MyNorthwest Staff

A collection of the all-time best Dori Monson stories

With the passing of Dori Monson, a collection of some of his top stories to remember all the hard work Dori brought to Seattle.
1 month ago
Alaska, fishing...
KIRO Newsradio staff

Listen: Friends, colleagues offer tribute to KIRO Newsradio’s Dori Monson

All day Monday, KIRO Newsradio's John Curley talked to friends, news makers, and more in tribute to Dori Monson.
1 month ago
Dori Monson Shorecrest...
Dori Monson Show

How to support charities reflecting Dori Monson’s values, passions

In tribute to Dori Monson, learn more about how you can support these three charities which best reflect his values, passions, and advocacy.
1 month ago
Dori Monson Nicole Thompson...
MyNorthwest Staff

Broadcasters, politicians, coworkers and friends remember Dori Monson

Dori Monson, a longtime KIRO Newsradio host, passed away Saturday. He is remembered by public figures, broadcasters, coworkers, and listeners.
1 month ago
Dori Monson...
MyNorthwest Staff

Longtime KIRO Newsradio host Dori Monson dies at age 61

We are deeply saddened to announce Dori Monson's sudden passing on Saturday, December 31, 2022, at a Seattle hospital.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Prolific offender to be released early for brutal Kirkland hate crime