On Monday, a New York Supreme Court jury convicted two men in the case of a Greenwich Village beating that left a man with a fractured skull and permanent brain damage. Sherif Rizk was found guilty of felony second-degree assault and Hatem Farsakh was found guilty of felony first-degree gang assault.
There was a snag on the road to justice, however: No one seems to know where Farsakh is.
He jumped bail, and has been skipping a series of pretrial hearings since at least mid-September. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest. The trial went on without him.
Of course, he has even less incentive to show up now: He faces imminent prison time.
A few seconds of cell phone camera footage captured the brutality of the January beating: several men pounding on 24-year-old Kevin McCarron, who was crawling on all fours. Prosecutors said the assailants used a tire iron and baseball bats, which they had retrieved from a car.
The altercation began in front of Mamoun’s, the famous falafel joint, at about 5 a.m. January 13. The defense team claimed the conflict began when McCarron’s friends shouted a racial slur at Farsakh’s group. Prosecutors claimed Farsakh’s group was sitting on the other group’s car, and that Farsakh’s group attacked even after their other guys attempted to walk away.
As the fight spilled onto MacDougal Street, several members of Farsakh’s group homed in on McCarron, who was in town from Andover, Massachusetts, visiting friends. Farsakh had claimed he was eating a sandwich when the assault took place.
Farsakh, age 25, was charged with attempted murder, as were Rizk, 23, and Mahmoud Habib, 30.
After turning himself in, Farsakh was released on $5,000 bond. He claimed he had missed his pretrial court dates because of a family emergency, the Daily News reported in September.
“We don’t know where he is. His parents don’t know where he is,” his lawyer James Kirshner told the News at the time. “I think he’s in the country, because when I call his cell phone number it’s the regular ring.”
But the trial came and went, and Farsakh is still on the lam.
The jury acquitted the defendants of the attempted-murder count and cleared Habib of all charges. In addition to the gang assault count, jurors convicted Farsakh on four counts of attempted gang assault in the fourth degree and two counts of second-degree assault.
The sentencing hearing for Farsakh and Rizk is scheduled for November 7.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 11, 2013