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Canadian Sentenced To 14 Years In Manhattan Claw Hammer Attack

Victim Suffered Spinal Fracture In July 2012 Incident
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 who slammed a claw hammer into a stranger’s head in New York City has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Douglas Epp made a rambling statement at his sentencing Tuesday. He said the attack was part of what he called a “suicide bid,” and he mentioned a woman he called his best friend.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said Epp abruptly attacked a Spanish tourist sitting near him on bench at City Hall Park in July 2012.

Victim Hugo Alejandre was treated for a spinal fracture and deep lacerations. He was visiting from Barcelona.

Epp told investigators he believed Alejandre had made insulting remarks about him.

Epp pleaded guilty Oct. 8 to attempted murder and identity theft. 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.

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