A New York City man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter and a hate crime in the 2021 killing of a Chinese immigrant has been sentenced to 22 years in prison, authorities said.
Jarrod Powell’s attack on Yao Pan Ma, 61, in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood was one of a spate of attacks targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the United States.
Ma was in a coma for eight months before he died. Police surveillance video of the April 2021 attack showed Ma being knocked down from behind and kicked in the head multiple times by a lone man.
Powell pleaded guilty in January to manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said in a statement announcing that the 51-year-old had been sentenced to 22 years in prison.
“Mr. Ma’s death was the result of a despicable racially motivated attack,” Bragg said. “(No) one should have to fear that they may be in danger because of their background.”
Ma was a pastry chef who came to the U.S. with his wife two years before the attack, U.S. media have reported.
Bragg’s office said Powell admitted in his plea that he targeted Ma due to his Asian heritage. The office said it currently has 39 open cases related to anti-Asian hate crimes.
The attack on Ma came a month after a shooting spree at three Atlanta spas left eight people dead, including six Asian women.
About one-third of Asian Americans say they have changed their daily routines due to concerns over threats and attacks, according to a 2022 report from the Pew Research Center. The FBI says there were 305 U.S. hate crimes against Asians in 2021.