YONKERS, N.Y. (PIX11) — A Yonkers man who pleaded guilty to punching a 67-year-old Asian woman more than 100 times was sentenced Tuesday to more than 17 years behind bars.
The graphic video of the March 2022 attack is hard to watch. It shows the attack shortly after the victim entered her apartment complex. Police said she was punched more than 100 times by her neighbor, Tammel Esco, who also stomped on her with his work boots, hurled racist epithets at her, and spit on her.
“In 27 years of policing, this was one of the most violent and one of the most heinous crimes I’ve ever witnessed. This is why it’s so heinous. There was no relation. There was no argument. There was no connection. This is someone coming home and being attacked in the lobby of their building,” said Yonkers Police Commissioner Christopher Sapienza.
The Westchester County district attorney and Yonkers police commissioner announced that Esco will serve 17.5 years in state prison for assault in the first degree as a hate crime. He will also be subject to five years of post-release supervision. Officials said the hefty punishment is justice after what the victim endured.
“He acknowledged by pleading guilty that led to us being able to charge this as a hate crime,” said Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah. “And something that I emphasized in my remarks is the fact that he spits on her afterwords which, I think, leads to an inference of hate.”
The victim suffered multiple facial fractures and bleeding on the brain. But there was also emotional damage. She moved out of the building, fearing for her safety.
“Leaving the home that you’ve had for 24 years and where you raised your daughters is incredibly painful,” said Jennifer Wu, one of the attorneys representing the victim.
Wu said the woman, of Filipino descent, does not want to disclose her current health status due to privacy but is grateful for the outrage and support from people worldwide. The attorney said that Asian media outlets closely followed the case.
“This is an example of America not being American. That in America, Asians are not safe. We are perceived as foreigners. We have not been accepted. We continue to feel unsafe in what is often the only home that we have known,” said Wu.
In addition to launching a hate crime hotline, the Westchester County D.A. is working on a portal to keep track of all bias and hate crimes. It is part of her office’s efforts to help prevent incidents like these from happening and enable them to fully enforce the law when they do.