A hate-harboring career criminal who promised to knock out ” the first white man I see” before throwing the punch that killed a 62-year-old man got 25 years in prison on Tuesday.
Lashawn Marten, 44, threw one fatal blow at retired train engineer Jeffrey Babbitt in a quick but violent episode on Sept. 4, 2013.
At Marten’s sentencing, Manhattan prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos described him as a menace with a long history of harassing and attacking random victims.
Marten was so callous that he gloated as Babbit lay helpless on the ground after his head struck the pavement.
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“First he bragged (as) Mr. Babbitt is on the ground, blood pouring about of the back of his head,” Bodganos said.
Marten had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, assault and attempted assault as hate crimes.
Babbitt’s slaying was part of a series of random attacks by Marten that day. He slugged a 19-year-old bystander and later Matthew Cortellesi, 50, as he came to Babbitt’s aid.
Cortellesi was sucker-punched on the right cheek and was out cold for seven minutes. He suffered a broken rib, nerve damage to his face and emotional scarring.
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“It’s been haunting me every day since and that’s a lot of days,” he said in a statement to the judge.
Marten’s lawyer, Michael Croce, argued that the case exemplifies society’s inability to deal with the mentally ill.
He said Marten had stopped taking his medication and was not in control of his actions the day he attacked.
“What benefit is it to warehouse him for the rest of his life, to send him to prison for the rest of his life?” Croce said, arguing for 15 years behind bars.
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Marten made a brief, emotionless statement.
“I would like to just apologize to Mr. Babbitt’s family and friends and to the other two (gentlemen) I hit,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
Justice Melissa Jackson handed him the stiff sentence that will keep him locked up until he is nearly 70.
Jackson noted that Marten had a schizophrenia diagnosis and had an “abundance of resources” available to him for a decade.
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She said his actions were direct and purposeful.
“You intended and you targeted people because of the color of their skin. There’s no doubt about it,” she said.
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