District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced that her office has secured a plea in a 2017 stabbing motivated by transphobic animus that seriously injured a disabled person.
David Delacruz, 31, pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a disabled person, assault and battery for the purposes of intimidation, and violation of the victim’s civil rights. Judge Robert Tochka sentenced the defendant to a term of five to seven years in state prison followed by two years of probation, during which time he must stay away from and have no contact with the victim, stay away from the area of Egleston Square where the attack took place, wear a GPS monitor, and undergo an alcohol abuse evaluation and any treatment deemed necessary.
“The lengthy prison term imposed in this case reflects the seriousness of the attack, which left the victim fighting for her life,” District Attorney Rollins said. “This outcome sends a clear message that there’s no place in our society for hate or the violence it fuels. Regardless of who you are, where you’re from, or how you identify yourself, we will fight for your right to be safe and secure in Suffolk County.”
Had the case proceeded to trial, Assistant District Attorney Teniola Adeyemi of the DA’s Special Prosecutions Unit would have presented evidence and testimony to prove that on June 13, 2017, the defendant and the victim were among a group gathered outside a Washington Street pizza shop in Egleston Square. The defendant directed a homophobic slur at the victim, leading to a verbal exchange. In an attack captured in its entirety on a public safety camera, he charged at the victim, knocking her from her wheelchair and stabbing her multiple times in the arms and abdomen. The attack ended only when a witness pulled the defendant from the victim.
The victim was transported to Boston Medical Center, where she required three blood transfusions and remained hospitalized for seven days. During an interview with Boston Police, the victim was able to identify the defendant by name and by his nickname, “Dangerous.”
She later positively identified him in a photo array.
“First, I want to thank the person who intervened and pulled the defendant off the victim. Had they not stepped in, this terrifying assault may have ended much worse,” District Attorney Rollins said. “The harm caused by hate crimes directly impacts the targeted individual, but it also spreads fear across entire neighborhoods and communities. The prosecutors, advocates, and support staff at my office understand that harm and we’re here to meet every victim and survivor with the dignity and compassion they deserve.”
The victims of any crime, including hate crimes, should call 911 in an emergency. The HYPERLINK “https://fenwayhealth.org/care/behavioral-health/violence-recovery/” \t “_blank” Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health can be reached at 617-927-6250 for access to services in the aftermath of violence targeting members of the LGBTQ community. The program offers services to survivors including counseling, support groups, and referrals provided by specially-trained staff in an inclusive environment. Sasha Brown was the DA’s assigned victim witness advocate.