Sept. 17, 2020 By Allie Griffin
A Bronx man was indicted for attempted murder by a Queens jury Thursday after nearly beating his girlfriend to death on a Jamaica street in May.
James Fitzgerald, 53, allegedly beat his girlfriend with a nail-studded plank as she lay defenseless on the sidewalk in front of a fish market at 150th Street.
He allegedly punched and kicked his 35-year-old girlfriend and then beat her with the wooden plank just before 6 p.m. on May 16, according to the indictment.
Witnesses nearby yelled for Fitzgerald to stop pummeling the woman with punches and for a moment he walked away — only to return with the nail-covered plank. He slammed the beam into her face over and over again, the charges state.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said the crime was particularly brutal.
“The victim was defenseless on the ground when witnesses saw the defendant allegedly repeatedly strike her with his feet and fists,” she said. “But that wasn’t enough. This man is alleged to have continued the attack using a nail-riddled wooden plank.”
The South Ozone Park woman barely survived the attack. She was left unconscious and rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where she underwent at least three surgeries. The victim lost vision in her right eye, her orbital bone was crushed and several teeth were knocked out.
Her face is permanently disfigured, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
“It is remarkable that she survived,” Katz said. “Domestic violence is a horrible scourge in our society and we must do everything possible to stop it.”
Witnesses of the May 16 attack called 911 and when police arrived, Fitzgerald ran off. The officers chased after the Bronx man and cuffed him.
Fitzgerald was indicted with two counts of assault in the first and third degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and harassment in the second degree in addition to the attempted murder charge.
He was also charged with an alleged assault from an April 17 incident in which he punched the same woman in her head and face, causing bleeding and a laceration, Katz said.
Fitzgerald faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.