The Queens man accused of beating a young woman into a coma because she wouldn't relinquish an East Village parking spot was arraigned Monday on assault charges.
Oscar Fuller appeared in court in Manhattan.
In various interviews over the weekend, Fuller expressed remorse but also defended his actions in the dispute that left the woman hospitalized in a coma.
Fuller tells the Daily Newshe didn't realize the force with which he hit 25-year-old Lana Rosas until police arrested him last week. Rosas is clinging to life at Bellevue Hospital, and it is not clear whether she will survive.
"I wish I just let her hit me," Fuller told the News. "It was out of reflex, just a reaction that went the wrong way. I don't believe this is happening."
"I hope for her recovery to happen soon," he added.
Rosas was trying to hold a parking spot for her boyfriend between two other parked cars on East 14th Street on Feb. 25 when Fuller pulled up in a minivan.
After she explained she was saving the spot, Fuller jumped out, started screaming at her, and then punched her in the face "with so much force that the woman flew off her feet," according to court papers.
According to witnesses he hit her several more times before speeding off. Stunned onlookers took down his license plate number. He was tracked down at his home in Jamaica.
Fuller's lawyer, Thomas Kenniff, has said that Rosas, described by friends and family as 100 pounds and 4 feet 11 inches tall, started the fight and his client should be charged at most with a misdemeanor.
"She hit him in the face," Kenniff said. "My client has the injuries to prove it."
"My client acted on instinct," he added. "He didn't act on intent. We punish intent and foreseeable acts."
Fuller told the News Rosas hit him "like four or five times" after he got out of his car and asked her to move away from the parking spot.
The father of two, who has an arrest record, insists he only struck Rosas once – and that was after she lashed out at him.
"I left the incident so it would not become a bigger situation," Fuller, who said he went to a birthday party after the confrontation, told the News. "I only hit the girl one time."
Still, Fuller says he's sorry the situation got out of hand, and he continues to pray for the victim.
"As a man, as a person who believes in God, I would not want to take a person's life," he told the News. "My history speaks of not hitting a woman. Do I feel I was right to do what I did? No."