Jury accepts insanity defense of driver in deadly 2017 Times Square rampage

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The person who drove his automobile down a crowded sidewalk in New York Metropolis’s Occasions Sq. 5 years in the past, killing a lady and injuring 22 others, was discovered to be not criminally accountable resulting from psychological sickness on the finish of his homicide trial on Wednesday.

After deliberating for about six hours, the jury accepted the madness protection provided by Richard Rojas, 32, in a Manhattan felony court docket in opposition to one depend of homicide and 23 assault costs.

He stays in custody forward of a listening to on Thursday, when Choose Daniel Conviser is anticipated to problem an order for a psychological well being examination to find out whether or not Rojas might be dedicated to a psychiatric hospital.

Rojas, a Navy veteran who grew up within the metropolis, was driving his Honda sedan down Seventh Avenue on Could 18, 2017, when he made a pointy U-turn onto the sidewalk, inflicting panic in one of many metropolis’s most crowded areas. He mowed down pedestrians for 3 blocks earlier than crashing his automobile.

He killed Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old girl visiting from Michigan, and left 22 others with shattered bones and different accidents. He tried to flee on foot earlier than being caught by onlookers and police.

In a jailhouse interview quickly after, Rojas instructed the New York Publish that he had unsuccessfully sought psychiatric care and had no reminiscence of the rampage. Associates stated Rojas had struggled with dependancy and paranoia.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district legal professional’s workplace had argued that Rojas was competent to grasp the hurt of his actions and had instructed folks he wished to kill the folks he drove into.

Rojas’ legal professional Enrico DeMarco referred to as the decision “proper and humane,” CBS Information reported.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Enhancing by Marguerita Choy)

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