A Bronx man pleaded guilty in Queens Supreme Court to attempted murder for nearly killing his estranged girlfriend in Jamaica just over two years ago.
James Fitzgerald, 55, of Walton Avenue, admitted he attacked his ex in front of a Jamaica fish market, kicking and punching her and then using a wooden beam embedded with nails during the vicious beating, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Friday, June 3.
According to court records, just before 6 p.m. on May 16, 2020, Fitzgerald abused his estranged 35-year-old girlfriend in front of Haifa Smoked Fish on 150th Street in Jamaica, knocking her to the ground and relentlessly beating her with his fists. At one point, Fitzgerald began to kick her several times while ignoring the pleas of on-lookers yelling at him to stop. He briefly walked away from his victim only to return a moment later with a wooden plank studded with nails.
Fitzgerald proceeded to slam the blunt object into her face repeatedly.
Katz said police arrived on the scene just as Fitzgerald was walking away from “the nearly dead woman.” When officers ordered Fitzgerald to halt, he ran but was apprehended following a short foot chase.
EMS responded to the crime scene and rushed the victim to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in critical condition. She suffered permanent loss of vision in her right eye and her face was permanently disfigured due to a crushed orbital bone and severe facial fractures, according to court records.
Katz said police recovered the bloody wooden plank with several nails protruding from it at the scene of the attack as well as the victim’s broken teeth that were scattered on the sidewalk.
“In pleading guilty, the defendant has taken responsibility for a brutal attack on his estranged girlfriend, a defenseless victim he repeatedly attacked with his feet and fists before moving on to using a nail-riddled wooden plank,” Katz said. “The victim thankfully survived but faces years of recovery, both physical and mental. The defendant has displayed a clear disregard for her safety and will now be sentenced to prison for his crimes.”
Fitzgerald pleaded guilty Thursday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Toni Cimino who set his sentencing for July 1, at which time Justice Cimino indicated she will order Fitzgerald to prison for 19 years, to be followed by five years post-release supervision. A full order of protection will also be issued on behalf of the victim.