A man jailed in the brutal attack last week of a homeless woman outside The Salvation Army in Denton told investigators that he assaulted her because he believed she was wearing clothes that belonged to his wife or mother.
William Matthew Stevens, 28, was arrested hours after the Oct. 27 attack on suspicion of aggravated assault but now faces a murder charge after the victim died from her injuries early Thursday, police said.
Jessica Yankow, 37, was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m. at the Denton Regional Medical Center, where she had been on life support since the attack.
“His reasoning for the assault was because he believed that Yankow was wearing his wife’s or mother’s clothes,” says a probable cause affidavit written by police.
Stevens remained in the Denton County Jail Thursday in lieu of $100,000 bond.
Officer Shane Kizer, a Denton police spokesman, said that both the suspect and victim were transients but that he does not know their relationship to one another.
According to the police affidavit, a security guard told authorities he arrived at the Salvation Army about 4:45 a.m. and spotted the woman and suspect sitting on a bench in front of the building.
By the time he got out of his vehicle, the woman was on the ground and the suspect was stomping her head, the affidavit states.
The security guard told police that he called out to the suspect, who walked toward him.
The guard said he asked the suspect what he was doing but the suspect apparently didn’t answer and instead returned to the injured woman, placing his foot on her throat and pressing down.
The suspect then walked back toward the security guard, who again questioned the man about what he was doing. Upon seeing the guard was calling police, the suspect left on foot, the affidavit states.
The woman, who was unconscious when police arrived, suffered a possible brain injury and had swelling and bruising about her face, including what appeared to be a shoe impression on her right cheek.
Reviewing video from a nearby 7-Eleven, Detective Tommy Potts found a man who appeared to resemble the suspect’s description wearing a gray V-neck T-shirt. That same afternoon, other detectives spotted Stevens, who matched that description, walking in front of the same 7-Eleven, the affidavit states.
Stevens carried Tennessee identification and told police he’d only been in Denton a few days.
He agreed to talk to investigators and later confessed to Potts and Sgt. Danny Fletcher that he had placed the woman in a headlock until she lost consciousness, then punched and kicked her in the face 15 times each while she was on the ground, the affidavit states.