Attacker who strangled, assaulted Jewish man walking home from synagogue gets 11 years in prison

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BROOKLYN, NY – Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for the strangulation and assault as hate crimes for the unprovoked attack against a Jewish man, whom he cursed and strangled as the victim was walking home from a synagogue.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This was a frightening and unprovoked attack that left an innocent man terrorized. We will not tolerate bias-motivated crimes in Brooklyn, where we pride ourselves on the diversity of our neighbors. I hope that this sentence sends the message that my Office will pursue and bring to justice those who target our community members for hate-fueled violence.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as James Vincent, 44. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo to 11 years in prison. The defendant was convicted of first-degree attempted strangulation as a hate crime, second-degree strangulation as a hate crime, attempted second-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree assault as a hate crime, and fourth-degree criminal mischief on October 28, 2021 following a jury trial.

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The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on April 21, 2018, at approximately 1 p.m., the victim, a 52-year-old Jewish man, was walking home from his synagogue after Sabbath prayers. He walked past the defendant in the vicinity of Rutland Road and East 46th Street in East Flatbush, when the defendant yelled, “You #$%& Jew, you Jews took my house and mortgage.” The victim continued walking.

The defendant then ran up to the victim from behind, placed his hands on his neck and applied pressure, according to the evidence. He then punched the victim in the head and body, put his arms around the victim’s head and applied pressure. Two bystanders intervened and the defendant continued to yell epithets regarding the victim’s religion as the victim picked up his yarmulke and kippah. The defendant then fled.

The victim suffered various injuries to the head and body.

Several surveillance videos from the area helped to identify the defendant and the investigation revealed that he purchased ice cream in a nearby store using a card bearing his name. He was arrested on April 27, 2018.

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The case was investigated by now retired Detective Kenneth O’Donnell, of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force, under the supervision of Sergeant Charles A. Senat.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Adriana Rodriguez, of the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Kelli M. Muse, Chief of the Hate Crimes Bureau.