Man Who Attacked Times Square Police Officers With Machete Sentenced To 27 Years

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, May 14, 2024 - 12:20 AM

Authored by Ryan Morgan via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A federal judge has handed down a 27-year prison sentence to the suspect who pleaded guilty to attacking a trio of New York Police Department (NYPD) officers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve 2022 in the name of radical Islamic extremism.

A file photograph of a judge's gavel. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Trevor Bickford, 20, of Wells, Maine, pleaded guilty in January to multiple counts of attempting three attempted murder charges and three charges of assaulting U.S. employees or officers just over a year prior on Dec. 31, 2022. Together, the charges carried a maximum potential penalty of up to 120 years in prison.

On Thursday, May 9, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel sentenced Mr. Bickford to serve 324 months in prison for the attack, a period lasting 27 years. The sentence is longer than the 10-year prison term Mr. Bickford’s lawyers requested but less than the 50-year prison term prosecutors had sought.

During the 2022 attack, Mr. Bickford allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase meaning “God is great,” that perpetrators have shouted in past Islamic extremist incidents. Federal prosecutors had alleged and were prepared to present evidence at trial, including post-Miranda statements from Mr. Bickford, indicating he had desired to travel abroad to wage “jihad” but instead chose to carry out his attack closer to home.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Mr. Bickford had spent months consuming radical Islamist materials, “including materials promoting the Taliban and reflecting the teachings of Sheikh Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi, a prominent radical Islamic cleric who was a spiritual mentor of al Qaeda,” prior to carrying out the attack.

“The defendant’s brutal ambush of three New York City police officers keeping watch over New Year’s Eve celebrations was a premeditated act of terrorism,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday.

The New Year’s Eve attack began near the edge of a high-security zone where revelers were to be screened before joining the celebrations in Times Square. Mr. Bickford admitted to swinging a 13-inch machete-like chopping blade called a khukuri toward the heads of NYPD Officers Michael Hanna, Louis Lorio, and Paul Cozzolino, causing injuries to all three men.

Law enforcement officers recovered a 13-inch khukuri-style blade following an attack on three NYPD officers on Dec. 31, 2022. (U.S. Department of Justice photo/Released)

The three officers sustained lacerations to their heads during the attack.

Mr. Lorio said he could barely remain conscious after a large cut to his scalp required seven stitches that night. He told the court he now has migraine headaches several days a week and is likely to be forced into retirement after a decade-long police career as he copes with anxiety and depression that cause him to “burst out crying for no reason” or cripple him with waves of sadness. Therapy, though, has helped, he added.

Mr. Cozzolino, who had graduated from the police academy only a day before the attack, said some of his physical pain, such as headaches, will last forever.

As he swung his blade at the NYPD officers, Mr. Bickford also allegedly attempted to take one of the officer’s guns.

It was Mr. Hanna who, despite being injured, reportedly managed to put an end to the attack by drawing his service weapon and shooting Mr. Bickford in the shoulder.

Mr. Bickford’s legal team pointed to mental illness as a contributing factor in the attack.

I understand that I left scars, physical and mental,” Mr. Bickford said when given the chance to address the court during his sentencing. “My mental illness took me down a dark path.”

Defense attorney Marisa Cabrera said her client is “deeply remorseful.“ She said her client came from a family with a background in U.S. military service and said her client had sought to join the military before his mental illness prevented that possibility. Ms. Cabrera said her client ”has returned to his old self with the aid of medication and treatment.”

Judge Castel noted Mr. Bickford’s history of mental health issues and his relatively young age as reasons for granting some leniency in his sentence.

NTD News reached out to Ms. Cabrera for comment following the sentencing decision but did not receive a response by press time.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

From NTD News