N E W YORK, Dec. 13, 2000 -- A New York man was sentenced
today to the maximum of 25 years in prison for bashing a
Texas woman in the head with a pavement brick in broad daylight
in midtown Manhattan last year.
Paris Drake, 36, was convicted last month of assault andweapons possession for attacking Nicole Barrett, 28, with asix-pound brick on Nov. 16, 1999. The attack led to a crackdownon the homeless by crime-fighting New York City Mayor RudolphGiuliani after Drake was initially incorrectly described byauthorities as homeless.
Victim Suffered from Brain Injuries
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Laura Visitacion-Lewis saidin imposing the maximum sentence for the conviction that theattack on Barrett, “left the city stunned and was so brazen andunprovoked that it not only shattered her physical being buther hopes and dreams for her entire life.”
Drake’s defense counsel maintained during last month’strial that he was not the assailant and had been the victim ofmistaken identity and overzealous police eager to close a highprofile case.
Barrett, who was working and living in New York at the timeof the attack but has returned to her home town Athens, Texas,was prevented by inclement weather from traveling totoday’s sentencing, but she had a statement read in court.
“Your action should have killed me and I want you to beaccountable for it,” said the statement by Barrett, whosuffered severe brain injuries. “You called me a rich, whitebitch. I am white and I can be bitchy. But you should have doneyour homework because I’m not rich.”
Barrett said that all the money she had with her the day ofthe attack was $1.86. “I really wanted to be here to give it toyou. Paris, you almost murdered me for $1.86 and now I want youto have it,” she said in her statement, which was read by JoanIlluzzi-Orbon, the assistant district attorney who prosecutedthe case.