A man on trial in New York for punching a woman into a coma over a parking space has been found guilty of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor that his attorney portrayed as a partial victory because jurors rejected a more serious felony assault charge.
The verdict Tuesday came after Oscar Fuller's second trial. His first ended in November with the jury deadlocked after several days of dramatic testimony; witnesses described the sound of the 25-year-old victim's head smacking to the ground after Fuller threw a powerful punch at her.
To convict Fuller of felony assault, which could have brought a seven-year prison sentence, jurors would have had to believe that Fuller intended to seriously harm the woman, Lana Rosas, who was knocked into a coma in February 2011 and her left brain-damaged. Rosas' mother, Angie Harrison, who sat through both trials, told the New York Post that her daughter still struggles to recover from her injuries.
"It's a slow process," Harrison said, the Post reported. "A slow, steady improvement."
Fuller, 36, denied that he intended to seriously harm Rosas. He said he struck out in self-defense after the two got into an altercation over a parking space on 14th Street in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Rosas was trying to save the spot for a friend by standing in it and preventing Fuller from backing his car into the spot. Traffic regulations prohibit such "unofficial reserving" of parking spots, although people often do it.