A New York man who was caught on video punching an elderly Asian woman 125 times earlier this year was sentenced to over 17 years in jail in connection with the hate crime attack, officials announced Tuesday.
Tammel Esco, 42, was sentenced to 17.5 years in state prison and five years of post-release supervision in Westchester County Court in connection with the March attack, Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah announced in a news conference.
In the brutal assault he called the woman of Filipino descent an “Asian b—-” and she was left suffering bleeding on her brain and multiple facial fractures.
He had pleaded guilty to first degree assault as a hate crime, a violent felony, in September.
“This is a case that has traumatized not only the victim and her family, but also her neighbors in the city of Yonkers, the broader Westchester community and the broader Asian American and Pacific Islander community really across the country,” Rocah said.
She said the victim and her family worked with the district attorney’s office all while recovering from her injuries.
In the March 11 attack, the woman was walking into her apartment building on Riverdale Avenue in Yonkers when Esco, who lived in the same building and was outside in front, yelled at her calling her a racial slur, Rocah said.
He then followed her as she entered the building and punched her in the head, knocking her to the ground, and continued to hit her over 100 times, stomped on her body, and spat on her “in a particularly vile act,” Rocah said. The incident was caught on the building’s surveillance camera.
Esco was arrested the same day and has been held without bail since the attack.
Jennifer Wu, one of the pro bono attorneys for the victim and her family, said the victim didn’t want to disclose her medical status and asked for privacy, “as we continue to heal and try return to our normal lives.”
“We appreciate the love and support of the community and the many people who were outraged by this hateful attack. Hate has no place in this society,” Wu said.
Yonkers Police Commissioner Christopher Sapienza said there was no relationship between the two, and the incident was an isolated attack.
“In 27 years of policing, this was one of the most violent and one of the most heinous crimes I’ve ever witnessed,” Sapienza said.
The victim appeared in court to read her impact statement revealing she had to leave her longtime home after the attack and feared for her life.
“Because of the viciousness and hate of Tammel Esco, I lost the place I called home for over 24 years, the place where I raised my daughters, and my longtime neighbors,” she said.
“As the attack happened, all I could think was, ‘Please Lord let me live, please Lord my daughters need me,'” she continued. “A complete stranger heartlessly spit, beat and kicked me over 100 times just because of my heritage… My only hope is that God and the criminal justice system will see fit to make sure this never happens to any other innocent family again.”