DNA evidence links an Orthodox Jewish man to the senseless and vicious beating of a gay African-American man, prosecutors said on Monday.
After a night of partying with friends on Dec. 1, 2013, Taj Patterson decided to walk to his Fort Greene home instead of taking the train.
As an allegedly intoxicated Patterson strolled in the street on Flushing Ave. to avoid the rats and garbage on the sidewalks, he heard a scream and saw someone he did not know running towards him.
“He got scared and started running … he was cornered by 5, 6, 7, 8 Orthodox Jewish men, pinned against a gate,” said Assistant District Attorney Timothy Gough during his opening statements for Mayer Herskovic’s gang assault trial.
Herskovic’s attorney Israel Fried did not present an opening statement for Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who is presiding over the non-jury trial.
Videotaped surveillance from three residents on Flushing Ave. was shown on Monday of apparently Orthodox Jewish men running after Patterson around 4:30 a.m.
Patterson, 25, frantically knocked on the windows of two vehicles driving by, pleading with them to let him. Neither stopped.
One of those drivers called 911 around 4:45 a.m. and told the dispatcher it “didn’t seem safe,” said Gough.
Patterson was able to get one arm free and got one punch in before he was thrown to the ground where he was repeatedly kicked, punched and stomped.
During the melee, Patterson’s Nike sneakers were ripped off by Herskovic and thrown on to the roof of 475 Flushing Ave.
Prosecutors said they’ll show Herskovic’s DNA was found on the back of the sneaker.
Prosecutors also intend to call two witnesses who did intervene.
“You’ll hear from Jose Guzman who saw a group of individuals, it was the Hanukkah season, thought they were celebrating — jumping up and down. When he got closer he saw they were stomping on a person,” said Gough.
An MTA bus driver also stopped and took photos which prompted the attackers to leave.
EMTs responded and treated Patterson’s eye, which was swollen shut and looked “like a baseball,” said Gough.
After three surgeries, Patterson was left “virtually blind” in his right eye, the ADA said.
Four of the other defendants’ — Pinchas Braver, Abraham Winkler, Joseph Fried and Aharon Hollender — were charged, but their cases were either dismissed or reduced to misdemeanor plea agreements.
If convicted, Herskovic faces up to 25 years in prison for the top charge.