A 23-year-old New Cassel man will spend more than two decades in prison for an attack prosecutors said left a man with dementia in a vegetative state.
Nassau County Court Judge Alan Honorof sentenced Josue Bonilla to 25 years in prison Friday, a term that includes sentences for multiple assault convictions he'll serve at the same time.
David Martinez, 68, wandered away from home and was lost and confused in April 2012 when Bonilla knocked him to the ground, then kicked and stomped on him, a prosecutor told the judge.
Assistant District Attorney Amanda Burke said Bonilla left the victim brain-dead on an unfamiliar street, and that Martinez can no longer enjoy the simple pleasures he once did, like eating pancakes and listening to music.
She said Martinez, who had Alzheimer's disease and was living in Hicksville at the time of the attack, also cannot eat on his own or speak.
"I will never be able to understand what kind of heart he has to do what he did to my uncle," Martinez's niece Susana Josey, 38, told the judge before he meted out the penalty. "I hope you are able to punish him the way he deserves."
Defense attorney Robert Schalk said Bonilla will appeal the assault convictions and maintains his innocence.
Schalk told the judge that his client asked him to express condolences to the victim's family, but that Bonilla couldn't apologize for a crime he didn't commit.
Bonilla was employed as a construction worker at the time of his arrest and had no prior convictions. A jury convicted him in July of six counts of assault, but acquitted him of robbery and other charges.
"He's in bed forever," Josey said outside the courtroom, holding up a photo of Martinez. "And thank God this gentleman's gonna pay for what he did."