Suspect pleads guilty to 2021 hate crime in New York City beating of Asian man

The suspect pleaded guilty to a hate crime deadly attack 2021 of an Asian man in New York, authorities said Wednesday. The victim spent more than eight months in a coma before he died.

Jarrod Powell, 51, pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to one count of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime and will be sentenced to 22 years in state prison, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

The attack took place on the evening of April 23, 2021, on a street corner in Harlem. The suspect approached the victim, Yao Pang Ma, 61, from behind, punched him in the back, causing him to fall, and then kicked him several times in the head, according to the New York Police Department. The bus driver witnessed the attack, the district prosecutor’s office said.

Prosecutors said Ma suffered a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized on life support. He remained in a vegetative state until he died on December 31, 2021.

USA-CRIME-POLITICS-HATE
People hold a photo of Yao Pan Ma, 61, on April 27, 2021 in New York. Ma suffered a traumatic brain injury following a brutal attack on April 23, 2021, on a street corner in Harlem. He died of his injuries about eight months later.

Timothy A. Cleary/AFP via Getty Images


Powell was identified as the suspect through surveillance video and was arrested four days after the attack. In his plea, Powell admitted he attacked Ma because he was Asian, the district attorney’s office said.

Ma’s wife, Baozhen Chen, said CBS New York back in April 2021, their family immigrated to the US in 2018. She said her husband had lost his job as a dishwasher and was collecting cans to support his family when he was attacked.

“This unprovoked attack took the life of Yao Pang Ma and robbed many in New York’s AAPI community of their sense of safety,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement Wednesday.

The district attorney’s office said it is currently investigating 44 possible anti-Asian hate crime cases.

Powell’s sentencing is scheduled for March 9.


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