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Canadian Man Pleads Guilty To Attacking Tourist With Hammer In City Hall Park

Case Was Complicated By Douglas Epp Using A Bogus Name
2008 Hawaii mugshot of Douglas Epp, who initially identified himself as John Yoos following City Hall Park hammer attack in July 2012. (credit: CBS 2)

2008 Hawaii mugshot of Douglas Epp, who initially identified himself as John Yoos following City Hall Park hammer attack in July 2012. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A Canadian drifter has admitted bashing a stranger in the head with a claw hammer at City Hall Park last summer. The case was complicated by an identity twist.

Douglas Epp pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted murder in the July 2012 attack. He is expected to receive a 14-year prison sentence.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said Epp abruptly started hammering at a Spanish tourist sitting by him on a bench. Victim Hugo Alejandre was treated for a spinal fracture and deep lacerations.

Epp told investigators he believed the victim had made derogatory remarks about him.

Epp initially gave authorities an alias of John Yoos. The real John Yoos, a Canadian chess champion, told prosecutors he was alarmed Epp was using his identity. The two are former acquaintances.

Epp also has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor identity-theft charge.

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