‘Nightmarish attack’: No bail for man charged in Boston assault that left woman bloodied, bruised

BOSTON — A man who was arrested over the weekend in connection with a “nightmarish attack” on a woman on a street in Boston’s South End has been ordered held without bail.

Amos Sykes, 35, of Quincy, was arraigned Monday in Boston Municipal Court on charges of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or over, assault to rape, strangulation, assault, and battery with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery with injuries. A plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf.

Officers responded to a report of an assault and battery in progress and a possible sexual assault in the area of West Canton and Appleton streets just before 9:45 p.m. Saturday. They spoke with several witnesses who said they heard screams and saw Sykes punching a woman in the head as he sat on top of her, according to the Boston Police Department.

Police noted that one witness was spotted by officers defending the victim and fighting off Sykes, who tried to run away before being taken into custody.

The victim had been walking on Columbus Avenue when Sykes grabbed her from behind, forced her onto the ground, and began punching her in the head, according to investigators. Sykes also allegedly tried removing the victim’s clothing.

“She was crying. She was covered in blood,” a prosecutor told the court. “He made sexual advances towards her. At this point, another individual came over and began to fight the defendant to get him off of her.”

At one point during the reported incident, another witness claimed to have seen Sykes attempting to strangle the victim with his bicep and forearm, according to the prosecutor.

“She was bleeding from her face so bad that it looked like somebody got shot in their stomach, that’s how bad she was bleeding,” said Sam Holder, a witness of the attack.

The woman was taken to a local hospital with lacerations to the face and injuries to her nose.

Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden praised the good Samaritan who stepped in and intervened.

“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,” Hayden said in a statement. “In cases like this, the victim’s injuries often transcend the physical. Our office has advocates specially trained to treat this type of trauma, and they will be by this victim’s side throughout the court process and after. I thank Boston Police for their quick response and arrest and I am especially grateful for this Good Samaritan’s courageous action.”

“I’m not a hero, I’m not a hero at all. I just did what any man should do. I’m not a hero. At all,” said Holder.

Others disagree, including his sister, Bernadette.

“It’s just so amazing what he did. To not know her, to just come to her rescue and not fear for his safety, I thought that was amazing, but that’s who he is,” said Bernadette Holder.

Detectives assigned to the Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit are leading an investigation into the alleged incident.

Sykes has a criminal record. In 2017 he was convicted of assault and intimidating a witness and spent 79 days in the House of Correction. More recently, Sykes was a witness in a homicide case in Dedham Superior Court.

Sykes was ordered held without bail and is due back in court Wednesday for a dangerousness hearing.

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