NYC Dem judge releases violent homeless man charged with random attack on woman in Union Square

"This is a stranger assault in which the defendant threw a shopping bag filled with various hard objects at a complete stranger’s head for no reason."


New York City Judge Valentina Morales released a homeless man without bail after he was charged in the violent assault of 24-year-old Jill Burke in Union Square on Jan. 31. Morales ignored prosecutors' request for $20,000 cash bail or a $60,000 bond.

According to the New York Post, 50-year-old Eric Taylor was previously convicted on two prior felonies, and 22 misdemeanors. Judge Morales released him, but he was arrested again six days later for burglary where Judge Michael Gaffey jailed him on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

Burke told the outlet that the incident happened around 10 a, on Jan 31. As she was walking to work she was hit in the face by a bag of what felt like glass bottles and fell to the ground.

“He was carrying a plastic bag full of things in one hand and kind of pointed at me with the other hand like he was aiming,” she said. "He took the plastic bag and hurled it at my face from about two feet away. I fell to the ground and then he just walked away.”

Police were able to track Taylor to a nearby electronics store where he admitted to the assault. Court records show, "he thought she was a spy and was plotting against him."

Prosecutors alleged, "This is a stranger assault in which the defendant threw a shopping bag filled with various hard objects at a complete stranger’s head for no reason."

Burke told the outlet that she was unaware that Taylor had been released until she showed up to the grand jury on Feb. 21 to testify against him. "I don’t know how a judge would let someone like this walk free," she noted.

"I looked up the judge’s name immediately," Burke added. "Just seeing the history and how many times she has repeatedly let very violent criminals go is just disgusting to me, really shocking."

"Obviously, I would like to see him stay in jail for a long time," she told The Post.

Taylor faces one count of felony assault and if convicted would face a minimum of three years in state prison.

Judge Morales, who was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2021, previously came under scrutiny in 2022 for releasing an ex-con charged with being in possession of a firearm as a felon. Frankie Centeno then ignored an order to get fitted for an ankle bracelet and instead fled to Puerto Rico where he was later captured.

Judge Morales denied the Bronx District Attorney's Office request for bail to be set at $100,000 cash or $300,000 bond due to his history of violating probation and parole.

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