A New York City woman says she and her sister desperately fought off an attempted rapist inside her apartment before she was able to grab a phone and call the first number she saw – her husband’s – who then returned to the building and beat the man to death with a tire iron.

Authorities say 61-year-old Mamadou Diallo beat 43-year-old Earl Nash – a career criminal -- in the elevator bank of a Bronx apartment building Monday night, The Associated Press reported. Diallo was arraigned late Tuesday in the Bronx on charges including assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Diallo is free on his own recognizance.

“He threatened my wife,” Diallo, a livery cab driver from Guinea, told the New York Post as he was being led out of a precinct station house in handcuffs.

Nenegale Diallo, the wife, told DNAInfo that she thought her kids might have been trying to return home Monday night, so she opened the door – but Nash forced his way inside.

"If you want something like money, please let me give you. Please, leave me alone," Nenegale said she told Nash, who locked both doors and began taking off his pants.

"I don't want anything. I don't want money. I'm going to rape you," he said, according to Nenegale’s account.

Nenegale said Nash attacked her sister first and she tried to make an escape for the door, yelling “'Help! Help! Help!'”

But Nash locked the door again and hit her with a chair during one point in the struggle, DNAInfo reported.

Police told the website that Nenegale’s sister helped pull Nash off of her and she was able to grab her phone in the struggle, calling her husband, who took around 20 minutes to return home.

"I took my phone and see my husband's number first. I pressed the number. I made a loud noise, screaming, 'Please, help me! Help me! Call the police!'” Nenegale said. “Then he slapped me again. The phone is falling, but I was making noise so my husband could hear the noise."

Nash tried to flee the scene, Nenegale said, but then was attacked by Mamadou, police said. Nash later died at a hospital.

Defense attorney Anthony Michaels said in court this was an attack on Diallo's family in his home.

Diallo had been arrested once before, but records on the case were sealed, police told DNAInfo.

"He's a good guy. He's been in this country 27 years and never had a problem,” a friend who asked not to be named said of Diallo.

Police say Nash has been arrested 14 times since 1997 on charges ranging from selling drugs to harassment, and there is no indication that he knew the Diallos before Monday’s attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.