Brooklyn Transphobic Attacker Sentenced to 20 Years

Mashawn Sonds
Mashawn Sonds

A Brooklyn man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for a 2014 hate crime that left a transgender woman with permanent neurological damage.

Last month, a jury found Mashawn Sonds, 26, guilty of first-degree assault with a hate-crime enhancement for swinging a plexiglass 2-by-4 at Kimy Hartman, causing her to fall to the ground and strike her head on the sidewalk during a transphobic attack in Bushwick on October 12, 2014. Hartman, a Native American trans woman, spent nearly a month in the hospital, and endured several surgeries that left her with slurred speech, loss of memory, and facial bruising as a result of the attack. 

"I may never have the opportunity to live like I used to again," said Hartman, 30, in Brooklyn Supreme Court court Wednesday, according to the New York Daily News. "Because of someone's hate, it had me lose my independence possibly forever."

Sonds was sentenced Wednesday, after what the New York Daily News describes as "a last-ditch effort to throw out the verdict by revealing he knew a juror."

That claim was rejected by judge Danny Chun, though Sonds maintains his innocence and has vowed to appeal his conviction. Sonds was facing as many as 25 years in prison for the first-degree assault as a hate chime, though the assistant district attorney suggested that he be sentenced to 20 years instead. 

"Hate led to the defendant's conviction," Brooklyn district attorney Ken Thompson said in the courtroom wednesday, according to the Daily News. "Justice led to his sentence."

Sonds delivered the fateful blow in what appeared to be a coordinated attack involving as many as four people on a sidewalk in Bushwick near Hartman's home. Moments before Sonds struck Hartman, 17-year-old Tyquan Eversley had been harassing her with antigay and anti-trans slurs. Eversley, now 18, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in December, and was sentenced to 16 months to four years in prison "as a youthful offender," according to the Daily News

Hartman was the third victim in an string of unrelated anti-LGBT assaults in Brooklyn in late 2014, which saw an unidentified gender-nonconforming person in the Bushwick neighborhood treated for minor injuries and released after a September beating, and a gay man struck in the head with a hammer in October in the lobby of his Crown Heights apartment building, by an unidentified assailant yelling antigay slurs.

Despite the ongoing effects from her assault and what she reports as the continued presence of homophobia on the streets of Brooklyn, Hartman told reporters in November 2014 that she had already forgiven her attackers for their ignorance.

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