Bill would create charge for aggravated assault leading to serious injury or death
Albany, NY — The New York State Senate on Thursday passed “Ildefonso Romero, Jr.’s Law,” sponsored by Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester). The law would create a new felony charge for an aggravated assault that results in serious injury or death.
It is now three years after the tragic death of Ildefonso Romero, Jr. who was killed as he attempted to break up a fight in front of his Bronx home. Romero, Jr. tried to protect a young woman in danger, when a 17-year-old man fatally punched him in the head.
“Ildefonso Romero, Jr. tried to help a young woman under attack and with one punch, his life was senselessly ended. Every year the Senate has sent a message in Ildefonso Romero, Jr.’s name, that when a perpetrator uses his fist as a weapon to cause serious injury or death there will be a serious price to pay. No family should ever go through the grief of losing a loved one and then watch his killer get a slap on the wrist. This legislation would finally close a glaring loophole in the penal code,” said Senator Klein.
Also known as the “one-punch bill,” “Ildefonso Romero, Jr.’s Law” arms prosecutors with a tool to charge and convict perpetrators who use their fists as deadly weapons. It creates a new class E felony offense that carries a maximum prison term of four years.
Police reports indicate that “one-punch” crimes are on the rise and videos illustrating “one-punch” or sucker punch techniques are proliferating online.
Romero Jr’s perpetrator received only five-months imprisonment for the deadly blow, because the court could only charge his attacker with a misdemeanor. The lack of justice devastated his family.
Romero, Jr., who worked at Lincoln Hospital, was a father of five and just about to celebrate his 34th wedding anniversary at the time of the deadly attack. His family had been planning a surprise 60th birthday party for him on the day he intervened in the fatal June 21, 2014 fight. They were heartbroken.
“My family and I are extremely grateful for the continuous support from Senator Klein, Assemblyman Sepulveda, the Senators and all the Assembly Members. We are so happy that we have reached the passage of the bill in the Senate. We are hoping that with the passage of this bill in my father’s name that there will be justice for families and no one will go through what our family has endured. There will be nothing that will bring my father back, but a bill being passed in his name will at least bring some peace to our hearts. We want to make a difference in the lives of others. That is what my dad would have wanted,” said the victim’s daughter, Jennifer Perez.