Manhattan, NY – A parolee accused of beating a 67-year-old man to death during a robbery was released on his own recognizance by a Manhattan judge late last week.
The attack occurred in Harlem near the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street on Sept. 20, 2020, the New York Post reported.
Police said 54-year-old career criminal Eugene Clark attacked 67-year-old Ramon Luna, punching him in the head and knocking him unconscious.
He and another suspect then rifled through the defenseless victim’s pockets and stole some of his belongings before a third attacker, Unique Powers, poured a substance on Luna’s face and went through his pockets, according to prosecutors.
The gravely injured victim was rushed to Harlem Hospital in the wake of the brutal beating, the New York Post reported.
According to court documents, doctors determined Luna suffered multiple brain bleeds.
He was in a coma prior to succumbing to his injuries on Aug. 4, 2021, nearly a year after the attack, the New York Post reported.
Clark was arrested nine days after the beating.
When police showed him surveillance footage that captured the brutal assault, he allegedly confessed to having knocked Luna to the ground and pointed himself out to investigators in the footage, the New York Post reported.
Clark was out on parole for a prior robbery at the time of the attack on Luna and had a criminal history stretching back to 1983.
His prior arrests included charges of gang assault, robbery, and criminal sale of a controlled substance, among others, the New York Post reported.
Clark was charged with grand larceny for his role in Luna’s beating and was released on bail.
After Luna succumbed to his injuries, a grand jury was convened and Clark was subsequently indicted on charges of assault, second-degree murder, grand larceny, and two counts of robbery on Feb. 2, the New York Post reported.
During his arraignment on March 10, Manhattan prosecutors urged Judge April Newbauer to remand the career criminal to custody without bail.
“This is a very serious case and the defendant is facing significant prison time,” Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Junig told the judge, according to the New York Post. “The defendant is a violent predicate felon. He has two felony convictions, sixteen misdemeanor convictions and eight prior failures to appear in court.”
“We are asking for remand, Your Honor, or alternatively a high form of bail as bail is necessary to ensure this defendant returns to court,” Junig added.
But Newbauer opted to release Clark on his own recognizance and ordered him to return to court for his next hearing on June 12, the New York Post reported.
“I will advise the defendant, that if he does not come back to court and remain law-abiding while this evaluation is being done, I will set monetary bail on the next court appearance,” Newbauer warned.
The decision stunned those familiar with the investigation.
“I couldn’t believe it,” one source told the New York Post. “Never, in all my years, have I heard of something like this before. [Clark] implicated himself in [Luna’s] death and now he’s free? Even the DA asked for remand.”
Newbauer further ordered Clark to be screened for electronic monitoring, according to the New York Post.
Powers has also been charged with grand larceny and assault for her role in the attack, The Post Millennial reported.
Junig said during last week’s arraignment hearing that a plea agreement has been presented in Clark’s case, according to the New York Post.
The deal would include an 18-year prison sentence, following by five years of post-release supervision.