Man charged with murder in case of woman found dead in Downtown alley

Posted at 11:22 PM, Oct 12, 2017

CINCINNATI -- Early the morning of Oct. 5, witnesses in Downtown Cincinnati heard a woman screaming in a small alley between Race and Vine streets. Although police arrived at Pendery Alley in seconds, the only thing left to discover when they did was the body of 47-year-old Tracey Hawes.

Thursday night, Cincinnati police announced the arrest of 61-year-old William Sanford in connection with her death.

Sanford appeared in court Friday morning where a judge ordered him held on $500,000 bond before he returns for his next court date. He has been charged with murder, but police aren't explaining how Hawes was killed.

911 calls reveal what sounded like a brutal attack and a struggle. 

  • "She's screaming again, 'Help. Help.' Lots of screaming."
  • "We hear somebody being thrown up against the fence."
  • "She's screaming like she's struggling, and I hear bottles breaking."

Assistant Prosecutor David Wood said Sanford was sentenced to four years in prison for attempted felonious assault in 2005 when he attacked another woman with a broomstick.