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A man accused in the fatal stomping of a senior Asian man in New York City in 2021 has pleaded guilty to the charge of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime.
Jarrod Powell, 51, is now facing 22 years in prison for the death of Yao Pan Ma, a Chinese immigrant. In his plea Thursday, he admitted to targeting Ma because he was Asian, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
“This unprovoked attack took the life of Yao Pan Ma and took away a sense of security for so many in the AAPI community in New York,” said District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “Jarrod Powell attacked Mr. Ma because of his race and is now being held accountable.”
Ma, 61, was collecting cans along East 125th Street and Third Avenue on April 23, 2021, when Powell hit him from behind and knocked him to the ground.
Surveillance footage showed the assailant repeatedly stomping on the victim’s head.
At least one person witnessed the vicious attack against the helpless senior.
“He [Ma] was minding his business with his shopping cart. When he got to the scaffolding, an African American man attacked him from behind,” Armetha Knight told the New York Daily News. “He hit him from behind and then curb-stomped him.”
His death helped ignite protests against anti-Asian hate at the time.
Family spokesperson Karlin Chan said Ma’s loved ones approve of the plea agreement.
“While this will not bring back Mr. Yao Pan Ma, it is a significant sentence that we can accept,” Chan said, according to the Associated Press.
Bragg said his thoughts are with Ma’s family and friends as they continue to mourn his loss. As of January 2023, his office has 44 open cases related to anti-Asian hate, CNN reported.