An Asian father of two who was repeatedly kicked in the head during a hate crime attack, leaving him in a coma, has died eight months after the brutal beating by a homeless career criminal in crime-plagued New York City, the NYPD said.
Yao Pan Ma, 61, died on December 31 after the April assault by Jarrod Powell, 49 – who has been arrested 15 times since 1988, the NYPD said.
The Big Apple reported nearly 474 hate crimes through November of last year – a 96 percent increase from 2020 during the same time frame when there were 242 such attacks.
Out of the 474 hate crimes, 127 attacks were against Asians – a nearly five-fold increase from the 28 attacks against Asians in 2020.
Yao Pan Ma, 61, (pictured in April) died on December 31, eight months after he was attacked
Ma was collecting cans in April 2021 in East Harlem when Jarrod Powell, 49, attacked him and stomped on his head at least six times, leaving Ma in a coma
His death has been ruled a homicide.
Powell was taken into custody at Ward’s Island men’s homeless shelter just days after the attack in April and was initially charged with second-degree murder and two counts of assault.
He was arrested after another resident at the shelter recognized him.
His charges have not been upgraded with the homicide charge, police said.
He is due back in court on February 10.
Ma, a Chinese immigrant, was left in critical condition and placed in a medically induced coma after his head was stomped at least six times while he was collecting cans.
‘When I saw him in the hospital…his face, I cried. I still cry,’ his wife Baozhen Chen said in April. ‘I hope he wakes up and talks to me and gets better and comes home. It’s really hard to believe.’
Police sources also said at the time that Ma suffered a cerebral contusion and facial fractures. Photo of his battered face showed him hooked up to medical gear in the hospital.
Ruth Howell, 64, Ma’s neighbor, described the couple as ‘two peas in a pod.’
‘It is so sad. They were like two peas in a pod. They were always together,’ Howell told the New York Post on Friday.
Powell has been arrested 15 times since 1988 and called the footage of the attack ‘a whole lot of bulls**t’ and he claimed Ma attacked him first
Powell in court in June
‘It angers me. He was out there trying to make a few dollars to help his family. You expect him to come home, not for this to happen.’
Howell also said she wants Ma’s attacker to spend 25 years to life for leaving Chen alone.
‘She is a good person. That shouldn’t happen to her,’ Howell told the New York Post.
Ma was pushing his cart and collecting recyclables in Harlem to help his family make ends meet after losing his job as a dishwasher during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ma was ‘minding his business with his shopping cart,’ witness Armetha Knight, 37, told the New York Daily News.
Ma and his wife, who have two adult children, moved to New York from China’s Guangdong province in 2019 looking for better work opportunities, Chen told the Daily News.
The entire attack was caught on video, which Powell said was ‘a whole lot of bulls**t’ and that Ma attacked him first.
Powell was paroled in May 2012 after he served more than five years for felony assault, according to records. He was also conditionally released by parole In 2000, after serving about two years on an attempted assault conviction.
According to WABC, Powell had allegedly kidnapped a 23-year-old woman from an apartment in the Staten Island borough of New York City on January 25, 1998 before sexually assaulting her.
He was charged with kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, sexual misconduct, and sexually assault but it was not immediately clear if he those were the charges he was reportedly serving time for when he was paroled in 2000.
Powell was arrested again for subway fare evasion eight times between July 2002 and December 2004 before he was busted again for assault twice at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in February 2006, WABC reported.
Overall crime has gone up more than 20 per cent in the last year, with felony assaults up almost 5 per cent