The 33-year-old suspect, Eliasaul Perez, remains in custody and is due in court on April 12. He told detectives, “I hit her on the head with a rock.”
He was charged with first degree assault, second degree assault and fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon.
He has not been charged with a hate crime, but with recent developments, those charges could be strengthened.
When Eyewitness News spoke to GuiYing Ma’s family earlier in February, they said it was nothing short of a miracle that she was showing signs of improvement after the attack.
However, on Monday, Eyewitness News learned that Ma died on February 22. His cause of death is homicide based on complications from head trauma.
The once outgoing, friendly and kind grandmother was sweeping her Jackson Heights sidewalk after Thanksgiving last year when she was grounded on the head with a rock. She had since been in a coma in Elmhurst Hospital until she showed signs of hope earlier in February.
The attack permanently damaged the right side of Ma’s brain. But the love between Ma and her husband, Zhanxin Gao, remained. Despite being hooked up to a ventilator and a feeding tube, Ma responded to Gao by rolling her eyes and crying when Gao talked to her in the hospital.
Although this attack has not been classified as a hate crime, the law firm representing the victim’s family is demanding more transparency from the NYPD regarding hate crime statistics and investigations. .
They’re also calling for changes to hate crimes laws, so that prosecutions don’t rely so much on uttered racial slurs.
“Whether or not they have all been officially classified as hate crimes or not, the fact is that our community lives in fear as we continue to witness incidents every few days over the past few years of violence. senseless, like many in our city alone over the past few weeks and months,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng.
Meanwhile, GuiYing Ma’s husband is grieving again. Speaking through a translator, he opened up about losing his soul mate after being together for over 40 years.
“My dear my beloved, please stay,” Gao said. “I want you to be able to stay. I want you to be able to go back to China with me. I want you to stay strong and be with me.”
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is involved in the investigation.
The Queens District Attorney’s Office released the following statement:
“We are reviewing the latest developments in this tragedy and will add or update any appropriate charges supported by the evidence. In the meantime, on behalf of the District Attorney, we extend our condolences to the family.”
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