Questions continue to surround the attack by a recently paroled man on an elderly Asian woman in New York City, prompting concerns from police and citizens alike about the parole process and the greater need for transparency.
Brandon Elliot, 38, was arrested and charged in connection with the attack, including attempted assault as a hate crime, assault as a hate crime, assault and attempted assault, police said Wednesday.
The brutal assault on Monday was caught on surveillance video from inside an apartment building lobby in Hell’s Kitchen. The suspect yelled “you don’t belong here” while he beat the 65-year-old woman, a police source had told Fox News.
The victim was reportedly on her way to church when the attack happened. She suffered a fractured pelvis and a contusion to the head and was taken to NYU Langone Hospital, police sources said.
Following his arrest, details of Elliot’s past surfaced, including that he was a parolee released in 2019 following a conviction in 2002 for stabbing his mother to death.
The Bronx District Attorney’s Office said Elliot was released on parole because he pled guilty to second-degree murder, which carries an indeterminate sentence of 15 to life in this specific case. Under New York law, murder two can carry a sentence of between 15 to 25 years.
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“With that type of sentence, after he served 15 [years], the state Corrections Department decides how much longer he should serve,” Patrice O’Shaughnessy, director of public information for the Bronx DA, told Fox News. “He did two more years and was released on parole.”
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea had criticized the parole, but the NYPD deferred Fox News’ questions Thursday on Elliot’s eligibility to the New York State Parole Board.
“When you’re releasing people from prison and you’re putting them in homeless shelters, you’re asking for trouble,” Shea said during a news conference. “There’s got to be a safety net and there’s got to be resources for them. It just never should’ve happened.”
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Elliot was first eligible for parole in 2017 but was not released until 2019. No details have yet been made available as to why he was paroled after only two additional years served, which has led to frustration in the community at large.
Reporting at the time indicated that then-19-year-old Elliot was charged with attempted murder after stabbing his mother three times – a charge that was upgraded to murder when his mother died at the hospital.
An independent Board of Parole oversees eligibility for release in New York, setting conditions at its discretion.
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News that Elliot had been released on parole prompted a strong reaction from union bosses, including Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo.
“When New York politicians and their parole board think it’s a good idea to release a murderer who killed his mother – they certainly can’t pretend to be surprised he brutally attacked a woman in Midtown,” DiGiacomo told the New York Post.
“It’s about time the City Council, State Assembly and governor be held accountable for their irresponsible laws and decisions,” he added. “New Yorkers are clearly not safe because of them. They need to fix what they broke.”
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The NYPD referred all comments and questions about Elliot’s parole to the state’s parole board. A Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request with the parole board is pending.
Elliot is currently being held without bail.
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones and Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.