NEW YORK CITY—A Brooklyn man who bludgeoned an Asian woman to death will spend the next 20 years in prison, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
Elisaul Perez was sentenced to 20 years after he attacked 61-year-old GuiYing Ma with a rock as she swept the sidewalk of her Corona neighborhood back in November 2021—hitting her twice in the head with a large rock.
The 33-year-old assailant admitted to the crime last month when he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter.
Ma, a grandmother, moved to New York with her husband in 2017 to find better-paying jobs to support their son and his family in northeastern China. She spent three months in Elmhurst Hospital before succumbing to her injuries, according to the New York Times.
Zhanxin Gao, Ma’s husband, returned to China and was not present that Perez’s sentencing on Tuesday. However, Jennifer Wu, a pro bono attorney for Ma’s family read a statement from Gao.
“It was all too sudden that our life in New York City came to an end,” he wrote. “I still can’t accept the sudden death of my wife. I’ve seen violent attacks on old people in the news, but I was overwhelmed when it really happened to me.”
Gao has been struggling with the guilt that he was not able to reunite his wife with their son and her mother, said the couple’s landlord and friend, Yihung Hsieh.
“The tragedy that happened to Ms. Ma hit him very hard,” Hsieh stated.
The attack happened during a wave of anti-Asian attacks in New York City—the most progressive city in the world. Michelle Alyssa Go was pushed to her death by a Black man at the Time Square subway station last January. A month later, Christina Yuna Lee was stabbed more than 40 times by another Black man in an attempted rape. She died in her apartment.
“Twenty years will serve justice and also send a message,” said the Queens district attorney, Melinda Katz.