Mashawn Sonds, a 26-year-old resident of 36 Hegeman Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn, has been convicted of first-degree assault as a hate crime, in the October 2014 attack on Kimball “Kimy” Hartman, a 29-year-old transgender woman.
According to a release from Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, Sonds and others approached Hartman and a gay male friend at 11:20 p.m. on October 12 on Bushwick Avenue near Halsey Street, when one of Sonds’ group shouted, “We don’t want faggots on our block,” and other anti-gay slurs. Thompson’s statement said that Sonds then picked up a plexiglass two-by-four and smashed it into Hartman’s head, causing severe injuries. Hartman was knocked unconscious from the blow and went into a seizure, suffering profuse bleeding and a traumatic brain injury. Hartman underwent surgery on her skull, but will, according to the DA, likely suffer permanent injuries.
Mashawn Sonds, facing 25 years, to be sentenced January 16, while Kimy Hartman continues to recover
Hartman, after initially being taken to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, was transferred to the Bellevue Hospital Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit in Manhattan, from which she was released three weeks later on November 3. Kate Barnhart, executive director of New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth, where the victim had been a client, told Gay City News at the time of her release that Hartman would require 24-hour supervision at home while taking 10 medications and engaged in intensive outpatient brain rehabilitation. Barnhart said that as of that date, Hartman still required additional neurosurgery to replace a missing portion of her skull.
Sonds, who was tried before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun and convicted on December 18, will be sentenced on January 16 and faces up to 25 years in prison. Thompson’s release stated that the conviction was the first by the newly-created Hate Crime Unit, which is part of the Brooklyn DA’s Civil Rights Bureau.
According to the New York Daily News, on December 16, Tyquan Eversley, 18, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the attack –– including hurling a can of trash at Hartman as Sonds was grabbing the plexiglass two-by-four –– and was sentenced to 16 months to four years based on his status as a juvenile at the time of the crime.
“I don’t know how many breaks you’ve received, but this one may be your biggest break,” Chun told Eversley, according to the Daily News.
The attack was investigated by NYPD Detective Michael Diaz of the Hate Crimes Task Force. Detective James Menton, of the Bronx Special Victims Squad, assisted in Sonds’ apprehension.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, chief of the Civil Rights Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Carlos Santiago, also a member of that unit.