NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — When a man and a woman locked horns over a Manhattan parking space last winter, their fight put her in a coma and him under arrest.
The man, Oscar Fuller, was only protecting himself after the woman attacked him, his lawyer told jurors as Fuller’s trial opened Monday. But prosecutors said Fuller acted out of rage and retaliation, not self-defense.
Fuller, a 35-year-old electrician, was heading to a birthday party his family was throwing for him when he got into an argument with Lana Rosas on Feb. 25.
He was trying to park his van in a spot in the East Village. Rosas, who was planning to go out to dinner with her boyfriend, was standing in the space to save it for him.
Prosecutors say Fuller punched the petite Rosas — who’s 8 inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than he — in the face so hard that she was knocked unconscious and off her feet. She fell and hit her head on the pavement, suffering a skull fracture and spending almost a week in a coma, Assistant District Attorney John “Artie” McConnell said in his opening statement.
Fuller drove away and went to the birthday party, the prosecutor said. He was arrested four days later.
“This was a deliberate, intentional, unwarranted attack by a grown man against a 25-year-old woman who isn’t even 5 feet tall,” McConnell told jurors.
But Fuller’s lawyer, Thomas A. Kenniff, said the electrician was justified in using force after Rosas ran up and attacked him, hitting him repeatedly. Fuller’s face was cut and bloodied, he said.
“Big or small, male or female, no one has the right to put their hands on anyone else” in such a situation, Kenniff told jurors in his opening.
McConnell said it wasn’t clear who struck the first blow, but regardless, he said Fuller’s actions were unjustified.
Rosas spent months in various hospitals, still faces further procedures and doesn’t remember much of the last year, McConnell said.
Fuller told reporters in March he was “very, very sorry for the situation she’s going through.”
If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.
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