A college student who repeatedly slashed a Muslim taxi driver in a 2010 bias attack pleaded guilty on Tuesday to attempted murder and assault as hate crimes for attacking a cabbie who was driving him home.
Michael Enright is expected to be sentenced to nine and a half years in prison in the plea deal, admitting that he intentionally slashed the driver in the throat, trying to kill him because of his ethnicity.
Enright, a would-be senior at the School of Visual Arts at the time of the attack, slashed cab driver Ahmed Sharif in the neck with a folding knife on Aug. 24 after asking whether he was Muslim, greeting him in Arabic and then telling him to "consider this a checkpoint" and vowing to kill him, authorities said. Sharif, who is from Bangladesh, survived. The driver left New York City after the attack.
Enright later declared to police that he was "a patriot," prosecutors said. He had initially told officers he'd tried to defend himself because Sharif was trying to rob him -- a suspicion-deflecting tactic that showed he had some presence of mind, prosecutors said.
Upon Enright's arrest, his lawyer has said the film student was deeply disturbed by what he saw while shooting a documentary about the war in Afghanistan, where he was briefly embedded with combat troops.