Army Veteran Convicted of NYC Hate Crime Rampage Against Asian Women Sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 Years in State Prison!
2023/08/01

NEW YORK — A U.S. Army veteran who violently assaulted several Asian women in an April 2022 hate crime rampage throughout Manhattan was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison on Monday.

During a violent spree lasting nearly three hours, Steven Zajonc, 30, spewed racist insults when he punched, elbowed and shoved seven women of Asian descent aged 19 to 57 in the Midtown, Nolita and Greenwich Village neighborhoods, ambushing some from behind.

At his Manhattan Supreme Court sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Neil Greenwell said Zajonc systematically picked out Asian women to attack as they went about their daily business, striking six with his fists or elbows and shoving one woman to the ground.

One victim who Zajonc knocked unconscious suffered a concussion and fractured teeth necessitating prolonged treatment. Others suffered cuts and bruises on their faces, the assistant district attorney said.

Greenwell said the victims’ scars from the psychological impact of being attacked because of their race would take far longer to heal. The incident came on Asian New Yorkers, including an assault on a Yonkers woman  the month prior in the vestibule of her building.

The ADA said Zajonc’s victims did not attend his sentencing as several feared seeing him again. Greenwell said that one who provided a victim impact statement to prosecutors said she no longer felt safe coming into the city alone or going out at night.

“Why her?” is the question the victim feared people would ask if she spoke publicly about the attack, Greenwell said, adding that she was still dealing with classic symptoms of trauma, like worrying whether people would believe she did something to deserve being on the receiving end of Zajonc’s vitriol.

Zajonc pleaded guilty to six felonies of third-degree assault as a hate crime and one misdemeanor of second-degree aggravated harassment in June. His 1 1/3- to 4-year sentence on the felony counts and 364-day term for the misdemeanor will run concurrently.

According to court records, the Florida man was homeless at the time of the incidents dealing with . Zajonc’s  he hadn’t shown animus toward Asian communities before the day of the attacks.

“I started having visions and hearing voices a couple of years ago of people insulting me. Everything bad in my life has happened since that started,” Zajonc told cops after his arrest.

Greenwell said prosecutors had factored Zajonc’s significant mental health issues in forming a treatment plan for his release. He has a pending case in the Bronx for allegedly attacking a corrections officer in April.

Zajonc’s lawyer, Michael Fineman, could not be reached for comment.

New York City officers received 111 hate crime complaints in the first quarter of 2023 and made 61 arrests, .

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