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New York City man sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to anti-Asian hate crime

New York City man sentenced to 15 years in prison for anti-Asian hate crime
New York City man sentenced to 15 years in prison for anti-Asian hate crime 02:21

NEW YORK -- A man convicted of a hate crime has been sentenced to more than a decade behind bars after confessing to attacking a stranger because she's Asian.

That victim gave emotional testimony Wednesday, almost three years after the attack.

Vilma Kari, 65, remained strong and courageous as she walked out of court after looking her convicted assailant straight in the eyes for the first time since he attacked her.

In her witness testimony, she said, "Mr. Elliot, you took my peace. Fear will always linger" and "Mr. Elliot, I will pray for you, even though you may not change."

Police say back in 2021, while on her way to church, Kari, an immigrant from the Philippines, was kicked to the ground and stomped on by Brandon Elliot, outside a Hell's Kitchen building. Authorities and Kari say the attack was fueled by hate.

"Some of us are survivors who live to see the next day," Kari said.

Her physical injuries have healed, but she says the trauma still remains. The assault occurred during a rise of anti-Asian violence.

"While I did not physically die that day, a portion of me did. A portion of me that made me think I could come to America 40 years ago and be accepted for who I am. I was wrong," Kari said.

In the wake of her attack, Kari's daughter started up the nonprofit AAP(I BELONG), which aims to shed awareness about anti-Asian crime.

"With us standing here today representing what happened to my mom as a first-degree hate crime, others will feel encouraged to share their story, to seek justice," Elizabeth Kari said.

Elliot, a 38-year-old homeless man, pleaded guilty to one count each of assault in the first degree as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.

Wednesday, he was sentenced to 15 years in state prison, followed by five years of post-release supervision.

Elliot did apologize to Kari shortly after her witness testimony. She said she was touched by that and didn't expect it.

Police say the attack happened while Elliot was out on lifetime parole after he was found guilty of killing his own mother back in 2002.

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