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Man Found Guilty of Assault in Random Manhattan Brick Attack

November 30, 2000|From Reuters

NEW YORK — A man charged with bashing a woman in the head with a pavement brick, nearly killing her a year ago, was convicted of assault and weapon possession on Wednesday but acquitted of attempted murder.

Nicole Barrett, 28, now living in Athens, Texas, with her mother but back in New York for the trial, suffered massive head injuries in an unprovoked Nov. 16, 1999, rush-hour attack on a busy midtown Manhattan street.

Paris Drake, 36, was charged with attempted murder, assault and weapon possession in connection with the attack. He could face up to 25 years to life in prison.

Jurors twice told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked but finally came back with a verdict that acquitted Drake, who has a lengthy criminal record, of the most serious charge of attempted murder. The defense claimed he was the victim of mistaken identity and had not committed the crime.

Drake, a panhandler, maintained he was at a police station at the time of the attack, trying to retrieve a radio that officers had taken from him during another arrest.

Barrett sat in the courtroom with her mother and was grim-faced when the not guilty verdict was read.

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