Bronx man gets 19 years in prison for beating woman with nail-riddled plank in 2020 – NBC New York
A Bronx man will spend nearly two decades behind bars after pleading guilty and being sentenced for the vicious 2020 beating of his ex-girlfriend with a nail-riddled plank of wood that left her partially blind and disfigured, prosecutors said.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Thursday that James Fitzgerald, 55, was sentenced to 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder for the May 16, 2020 beating.
According to prosecutors, who cited court records, just before 6 p.m. that day in 2020, Fitzgerald attacked his 35-year-old girlfriend on the sidewalk outside a fish market in Jamaica, Queens, where he threw her to the ground, and repeatedly kicked and punched her in the head.
Prosecutors say Fitzgerald ignored nearby eyewitnesses yelling at him to stop. Although he briefly walked away from the victim, he returned soon after with a nail-riddled plank of wood which he used to punch his girlfriend in the face.
According to Katz, police arrived at the scene just as Fitzgerald was walking away. He was eventually arrested after a short foot chase.
Afterwards, Katz said police recovered the bloody plank of wood with the nails from the scene of the attack, along with the victim’s broken teeth that were strewn across the sidewalk.
The victim was immediately transported to a nearby hospital. As a result of the violent and gruesome attack, she suffered permanent vision loss in her right eye, underwent numerous facial reconstruction surgeries since being permanently disfigured due to a bone crushed eye socket and several serious facial fractures.
Fitzgerald pleaded guilty on June 2 to attempted second degree murder. Along with his prison sentence, he must also serve five years of post-release supervision, according to Katz’s office.
In addition, a full protection order was issued on behalf of his victim.
“This defendant brutally attacked his former girlfriend almost to death,” Katz said. “It is a miracle that the victim survived, although he still faces years of physical and mental recovery from the serious injuries he sustained. Following the defendant’s guilty plea last month, he was sentenced to prison for his heinous acts. I can only hope that the victim will find some comfort in knowing that the defendant has been held accountable.