A New Cassel man was convicted Wednesday after a jury found him guilty of beating a senior citizen who was suffering from dementia and leaving the elderly man in a permanent vegetative state, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a news release announcing the verdict.
Josue Bonilla, 23, was convicted July 31 after a jury at Nassau County Court deliberated for two days and returned a guilty verdict on two counts of first-degree assault and four counts of second-degree assault. He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced at a future date.
Prosecutors said Bonilla attacked a 68-year-old man who was suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, when the man became lost on the streets of New Cassel. The victim, a Hicksville resident, was walking along Grayston Street on April 28, 2012, when Bonilla confronted him just before 8:30 p.m. and began to yell, a news release said.
When the victim told Bonilla “I don’t have anything,” he was punched in the jaw with enough force to break his dentures and send the senior citizen flying to the ground, the DA said. When the man was unconscious in the street, prosecutors said Bonilla continued to punch and kick him before stomping on his head, chest and back. The force was so severe that the man was left with shoe marks on his body.
Prosecutors said Bonilla ran from the scene, but was arrested in June 2012 after an investigation by police officers from the Third Precinct. The elderly man, DA Rice said, will remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.
In addition to the assault charges, he was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery and fourth-degree grand larceny. Bonilla’s attorney claimed in court that his client was not involved in the attack, but a jury rejected those claims. He was however, acquitted Wednesday on the robbery and larceny charges.
“There are no words that can accurately describe the viciousness of this assault and the capacity for violence necessary to carry it out,” Rice said. “Bonilla picked the most vulnerable victim he could find and attacked a very sick, elderly man who had lost his way and couldn’t fight back. Today’s verdict will never undo the damage this defendant caused, but at least it will ensure that this violent predator is off the streets for a very long time.”
As of this writing, a sentencing date was not announced. Prosecutors anticipate a judge to declare a date for the sentencing proceeding on Thursday.