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Man Convicted in 2013 Shomrim Attack Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

By Gwynne Hogan | March 16, 2017 2:46pm
 Mayer Herskovic, 24, was sentenced to four years in prison for a 2014 attack on Taj Patterson.
Mayer Herskovic, 24, was sentenced to four years in prison for a 2014 attack on Taj Patterson.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The man convicted of gang assault for his part in the beating of a young fashion student in 2013 by members of a Shomrim Safety Patrol was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday.

But he won't see the inside of a cell for some time.

Immediately following the sentencing, Mayer Herskovic's lawyer filed a motion asking Judge Danny Chun to put off the sentence while they appeal his conviction, attorney Stuart Slotnick said.

They have 120 days to file an appeal and Herskovic will be released on bail Thursday afternoon, the lawyer said.

"We think the DNA evidence was completely and totally flawed," Slotnick said, describing their grounds for appeal. "He's innocent."

 Fashion student Taj Patterson is suing the men charged with attacking him in December for damages.
Fashion student Taj Patterson is suing the men charged with attacking him in December for damages.
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Courtesy of Sanford Rubenstein

Herskovic was convicted of second degree gang assault in September largely based DNA evidence found on the boot of Taj Patterson, 25, a fashion student who was beaten unconscious and partially blinded by a gang of men in 2013, some of whom were part of Williamsburg's Shomrim Safety Patrol.

Herskovic was the only person to be linked to the scene of the attack with DNA evidence and the only one of five people originally indicted in 2014 to face jail time. 

Charges were eventually dropped against two men and another two — Pinchas Braver and Abraham Winkler  — pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment charges and have to do community service and pay a $1,400 fine.

Before delivering his sentence Thursday, Chun considered the prosecution's request for five years and Herskovic's defense attorney's plea for three and a half.

While those convicted of second degree gang assault can face up to 15 years in prison by law, Chun explained to the court that evidence presented during the trial showed that Herskovic wasn't the lead aggressor.

"This defendant was not the most culpable," Chun said.

Speaking moments before his sentencing Thursday, Herskovic that he was "feeling good."

"The truth is coming out," he said, pointing to recent accusations by Taj Patterson's attorney that the District Attorney had failed to indict a lead aggressor in his attack because of political connections, the Daily News reported.

"I was never a Shomrim, never," he said.

The charges stem from an attack on Dec. 1, 2013 where Paterson was walking home down Flushing Avenue when he was chased by members of the Shomrim Security Patrol, surrounded, pinned up against a wall, beaten, stomped on and kicked until he lost consciousness.

Patterson had to have three subsequent surgeries and will never regain sight in his right eye.

"Mr. Patterson has been deeply scarred and those scars may need ever be removed," said prosecutor Thursday. "His personality was taken away. He’s no longer outgoing now. He’s suspicious of everyone."

Patterson's mother Zahra declined to comment as she left the courtroom Thursday.