Man Sentenced to 23 Years for Stabbing Five in Riverside Park

James C. McKinley Jr., New York Times, May 12, 2015

A man who went on a rampage with a broken pair of scissors in Riverside Park in Manhattan and stabbed five people, including a child in a stroller, was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Tuesday.

The man, Julius Graham, 44, pleaded guilty in April to six counts of assault in a deal with the Manhattan prosecutors, who agreed to drop attempted murder charges against him. Mr. Graham said nothing before Justice Charles H. Solomon of State Supreme Court in Manhattan imposed the sentence. Mr. Graham’s lawyer, Heather Smith, said her client was experiencing “sincere remorse.”

Julius Graham

Julius Graham

On Oct. 1, 2013, Mr. Graham shattered a peaceful morning in the park along the Hudson River on the Upper West Side when people were jogging, walking, strolling with their children, or just sitting in the warm sun. Wielding blades from a broken pair of scissors, he attacked random victims for no apparent reason. He stabbed and slashed two female joggers, a man walking his dog, a father and the 18-month-old son he was pushing in a stroller, prosecutors said. The child was saved when a bystander wrestled Mr. Graham to the ground and held him until the police arrived.

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Before the sentencing, one of the joggers, Deanna Koestel, described the horror she felt when Mr. Graham plunged the scissors into her back several times, puncturing her lung twice and dislocating her shoulder as she fell. A marathon runner, Ms. Koestel said she had three surgeries and months of painful recovery. “Those images and memories will haunt me for a lifetime,” she said.

Deanna Koestel

Deanna Koestel

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