The Brooklyn man accused of killing Guiying Ma in a Queens rock attack over a year ago has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, prosecutors said on Thursday.
Elisaul Perez, 33, a homeless man with 11 prior arrests, is now facing a 20-year sentence for the crime, which helped fuel protests against anti-Asian hate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ma, 62, was sweeping outside her home near 38th Ave. and 97th St. in North Corona on Nov. 26, 2021, when Perez allegedly picked up a large rock and struck her in the head.
The blow knocked the senior to the ground, but Perez allegedly bashed her head a second time before walking away.
Ma was placed in a medical coma after suffering a skull fracture, brain bleeding and facial fractures. She succumbed to her injuries on Feb. 22.
Perez was initially charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Following Ma’s death, his charges were upgraded to first-degree manslaughter, but not a hate crime.
Perez is set to be sentenced on Jan. 10, 2023, to 20 years of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release.
“Her family, friends and neighbors still mourn the loss of Guiying Ma, whose life was senselessly taken last year in this brutal attack,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “The defendant will now be held to account for an unprovoked attack that robbed a family of their loved one. The lengthy sentence to be imposed by the court is fully justified.”
Ma, who immigrated from China four years ago, is survived by her husband, son and two grandchildren. Her death was the fourth in a series of fatal attacks against Asians in New York City.
A fundraising campaign on GoFundMe organized for Ma’s medical bills and funeral expenses has raised nearly $253,000.