A Manhattan panhandler unleashed an “unjustified, brutal attack” on a fellow subway rider, a prosecutor said early Tuesday morning in the suspect’s first court appearance.
Geovannie Nieves, 35, wore a blue Turner construction t-shirt, black and green basketball shorts and black sneakers as he was hauled into Manhattan Criminal Court for his 12:30 a.m. arraignment.
“This is an unjustified brutal attack on a civilian who was riding the subway,” prosecutor Shayna Dunning said. “The defendant was begging for money and when the complainant refused, the defendant became irate.”
Nieves was charged with first-degree assault with a weapon and other related charges in connection to the metal-pipe beating of 59-year-old Michael Vansluytman. Nieves faces between 5 years to 25 years in prison, if convicted of all charges.
“The complainant is being treated for a fractured skull, fractured eye socket, and possibly bleeding to the brain,” Dunning said.
Nieves was held on $150,000 bail and ordered back to court on Friday.
“This entire incident is on video, you can see the defendant is unprovoked in any way – and this is not in self defense,” Dunning said. “There are eyewitnesses to the event. The defendant was arrested within a day, wearing the same clothes that he is wearing on video.”
Defense lawyer Naila Siddiqui had asked for lower bail, arguing that Nieves was “taken into custody without any issue” and doesn’t pose a flight risk because he’s married with kids, ages 7 and 8.
By Joe Marino