A New York man accused of punching a woman over 100 times earlier this year has been sentenced to prison bringing a close to one of "the most vicious and shocking" hate crime cases in Westchester County, an official said.
In March 2022, as the woman, who has not been publicly named, was entering her apartment building in Yonkers, a New York City suburb, 42-year-old Tammel Esco yelled at her, calling her an "Asian b----," according to a news release from the district attorney for Westchester County.
Esco then punched her from behind, sending her to the ground, officials said. He proceeded to punch her over 100 times in under two minutes and also stomped on her in his construction boots and spit on her.
The attack was captured on a surveillance camera and police arrested Esco shortly after, officials said.
The 67-year-old woman, who is of Filipino descent, suffered a bleeding brain, facial fractures and other lacerations and bruising, according to officials.
An attorney for Esco could not immediately be reached by McClatchy News for comment.
Esco, who has been held without bail since the attack, pleaded guilty in September to assault in the first degree as a hate crime and was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison followed by five years of "post-release supervision" on Tuesday, Nov. 29, according to a separate news release from the Westchester County district attorney's office.
Esco has 30 days to appeal his sentencing, but his attorneys told News 12 there are "no current plans to do that."
"Because of the viciousness and hate of Tammel Esco, I lost the place I called home for over 24 years," the woman said in court, according to officials. "As the attack happened, all I could think was, 'Please Lord let me live, please Lord my daughters need me.' A complete stranger heartlessly spit, beat and kicked me over 100 times just because of my heritage."
"I lost my peace of mind, my ability to relax, I lost months of my life," she added. "I will forever be on edge."
The attack came at a time when Asian-Americans reported experiencing hate crimes at elevated levels, according to AAPI Data. "1 in 6 Asian American adults experienced a hate crime or hate incident in 2021, an Increase from 1 in 8 in 2020," the website states.
The uptick in reported hate crimes coincided with a near doubling in the percentage of Americans who believe Asian-Americans are "at least partially responsible for COVID-19" from 11% to 21%, according to LAAUNCH, a non-profit.
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