Back in August of 2008 Staten Island’s Joseph Papapietro was charged with backing his red Ford F-150 pickup truck into three local storefronts. As the three businesses were owned by Mexicans, this was considered to be a hate crime. Still, prosecutors considered letting him off light if he paid $30,000 in restitution. The victims seemed to like the idea, but it went south, the trial was postponed, and now Papapietro, known affectionately around his way as Papa Joe, has been found unfit to stand trial by reason of mental incapacity. He will be put in a mental institution and reevaluated every so often to see if he’s sufficiently cognizant to stand trial. If he’s faking, he isn’t getting much out of it — he may be held at the institution for as long as two-thirds of the maximum sentence on the charges, or ten years.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 21, 2009