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Man who terrorized Northern Liberties residents gets jail sentence, probation

Lakim Wilson was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in jail, plus 19 years' probation. He also was ordered to get mental-health treatment and must register as a lifetime Megan's Law offender.

Lakim Wilson's arrest photo
Lakim Wilson's arrest photoRead morePhiladelphia Police

A 22-year-old North Philadelphia man who terrorized Northern Liberties last year by trying to open residents’ doors, peeping through windows, burglarizing homes, and stealing cars, then escalating his behavior to three sexual offenses, was sentenced Wednesday to 11½ to 23 months in jail plus 19 years’ probation.

Common Pleas Court Judge Stephanie Sawyer ordered Lakim Wilson of the 1000 block of Girard Avenue to remain in a city jail until May, then be paroled to an intensive outpatient treatment program.

Wilson has been in custody since his arrest on Sept. 30, 2018, for an attempted sexual assault and will get credit for time served.

“This case has troubled me from Day One,” Sawyer said, noting that she had been trying to figure out what had changed in Wilson’s life. He had no juvenile arrests.

Public defender Emily McKenna told the judge that Wilson was raised by a single mother while his father was in prison. When he was 19 or 20, he started isolating himself, smoking marijuana, and sleeping in random people’s cars, she said.

After he was arrested for a burglary in 2017, his mother committed him involuntarily to a hospital for mental-health treatment, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, McKenna said.

Wilson’s mother, Denise, told the judge that she had involuntarily committed him twice for mental-health treatment, but that he was released without appropriate treatment. She and the judge agreed that Wilson needed to stay on his schizophrenia medication.

“I believe a medicated Lakim Wilson would never have done these things,” the judge said of his crimes.

But the judge also realized that Northern Liberties was terrified of Wilson’s escalating criminal behavior. She ordered that he not enter the neighborhood during his parole and probation.

Northern Liberties residents in the summer of 2018 had posted frequently on a neighborhood Facebook page about Wilson, whom they had spotted or caught on surveillance video trying to open doors or peering into windows. They also said he frequently harassed women.

Police Sgt. John Massi told the judge that Wilson had frightened residents last year after he had been spotted “trying door handles of dozens and dozens of properties,” then escalating to property crimes, then sexual offenses. People in the neighborhood were “terrorized,” Massi said.

Wilson pleaded guilty on Aug. 6 to the three sexual offenses from September 2018 — indecent exposure, indecent assault, and attempted sexual assault. He also pleaded guilty to theft, burglary, or criminal trespass charges in relation to five other victims from 2017 and 2018 incidents, one in Society Hill.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Fischer told the judge that Wilson’s crimes were “terrifying” to residents and said he “has been a menace to society.” She asked the judge to sentence him to 10 to 20 years in state prison.

In court Wednesday, Wilson apologized to the Northern Liberties community and to his family. “I had an addiction. All I was worried about was smoking weed,” he said. “I hope you give me a second chance.”

By law, Wilson is required to register as a lifetime Megan’s Law offender.

Wilson’s 1-year-old daughter was in the courtroom with her mother, his girlfriend.