A New York City man pleaded guilty to an attempted murder charge in a vicious attack on his estranged girlfriend that very nearly killed her, after he used a wooden board with nails coming out of it to beat her.
James Fitzgerald admitted to the attack onThursday in Queens Supreme Court. According to court records, the 55-year-old abused his estranged 35-year-old girlfriend in front of a fish market in Jamaica just before 6 p.m. on May, 16, 2020.
Fitzgerald, of Walton Avenue in the Bronx, knocked the woman down to the ground before punching and kicking her several times, court documents stated. Witnesses yelled for him to stop, but he ignored them, only briefly walking away only to return a moment later with a wooden plank that was studded with nails.
Fitzgerald then slammed the woman in the face repeatedly using the nail-covered piece of lumber, according to court documents.
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Police arrived at the scene just as the Fitzgerald was walking away from the nearly dead victim, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. He initially ran, but was quickly caught by officers and arrested.
The victim was rushed to the hospital. She suffered permanent vision loss in her right eye, and her face was permanently disfigured due to a crushed orbital bone and several facial fractures, court documents found.
Police recovered the bloody wooden plank from the scene, along with multiple broken teeth from the victim that were scattered on the sidewalk.
"In pleading guilty, the defendant has taken responsibility for a brutal attack on his estranged girlfriend — a defenseless victim he repeatedly attacked with his feet and fists before moving on to using a nail-riddled wooden plank," Katz said in a statement. "The victim thankfully survived but faces years of recovery, both physical and mental. The defendant has displayed a clear disregard for her safety and will now be sentenced to prison for his crimes."
The judge said that Fitzgerald will be sentenced to 19 years in prison on July 1.