New York, NY – A 19-year-old man who beat a homeless man to death on a sidewalk has been sentenced to only nine months in jail under New York’s “youthful offender” statute.
Prosecutors argued the Branlee Gonzalez was a member of the Gorilla Stones gang, and as such, should be sentenced to no less than 10 years in prison, the New York Post reported.
But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Guy Mitchell allowed Gonzalez to make a deal that would give him less than a year behind bars for pleading guilty to manslaughter and attempted assault on two homeless men who catcalled his cousin on a Manhattan sidewalk.
Gonzalez’s record will also be sealed as a youthful offender despite the fact he beat 69-year-old Lucio Bravo to death at about 3:30 a.m. on May 18, 2017 at the age of 18, the New York Post reported.
The attack was captured on nearby surveillance video and showed Gonzalez, on Sherman Avenue near Dyckman Street, stopping on the sidewalk beside Bravo and his companion, 39-year-old Juan Calderon, after the two men allegedly catcalled the female cousin with whom he was walking, the New York Post reported.
In the video, Gonzalez pummeled Bravo and Calderon, raining down multiple blows on each of their heads as they tried to protect themselves.
It did not appear that either man fought back or tried to hit their attacker.
After the beating, Bravo slipped into a coma, and then died five days later.
Luis Diaz, the attorney for Gonzalez, argued to the judge that the 19 year old deserved leniency because he had endured a difficult childhood, the New York Post reported.
But Bravo’s family begged the judge in a letter to sentence Gonzalez to significant jail time to make him “pay for what he has done.”
“Yes, I believe in second chances but I also believe the defendant must learn that all actions have consequences,” the victim’s daughter wrote to the judge.
She wrote that despite the fact that her father had been an alcoholic, he “not only had a family but he was also a son, a father, a grandfather.”
“He was loved by everyone,” she wrote. “It is so painful to see that my daughters no longer have a grandfather.”