The man who went on a slashing spree with a pair of broken scissors at a popular Upper West Side park in 2013, injuring five people, including an 18-month-old boy, has been sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Julius Graham, a homeless man originally from Texas, learned his fate in court on the assault conviction Tuesday as his attorney apologized on his behalf.
Two of the five people hurt in the attack recounted the horror they went through that October morning in 2013.
Deanne Kostel, 36, was practicing for a marathon at Riverside Park last fall when Grahama stabbed her in the back, puncturing her lung in two places. She could not scream as she lay bleeding on the ground, she said.
Ben Loehnen was walking his dog when he said Graham stabbed him in the chest. Despite months of painful recovery, he told Graham Tuesday he hopes he finds kindness and peace in the years ahead.
The judge called it one of the most frightening cases he has seen.
Graham's family said they believe he needs mental help, not prison time.
"I am sorry that it happened to the victims but I'm also sorry for my cousin. He's mentally ill and that was not addressed," said Denise Brown, a cousin of Graham.
Graham attacked five people over the course of nine minutes inside the park at 64th Street. The spree ended when a bystander held the suspect down until police arrived.