Yao Pan Ma: Asian man injured in an unprovoked attack in New York last April has died, officials say

“The hospital called me on January 1 to say he passed away at 10:30pm on December 31,” said family spokeswoman Carlyn Chan. “His wife didn’t get a chance to see him even before he died because the hospital was short of staff due to the holidays and the Covid-19 virus.”

Ma was collecting cans on a street corner on April 23 last year when Jarrod Powell, 50, approached him from behind, hitting him in the back and then kicking him in the head several times while Ma was lying on the ground, police said. Powell was arrested the following week and initially charged with attempted murder and two counts of hate crime of assault.

The New York City Police Department announced Ma’s death Saturday morning and deemed the April 2021 incident a murder, according to a department press release.

Jennifer Wu’s lawyer declined to comment on the case. CNN has reached out to Powell’s defense attorney, Liam Malanavi, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for comment but has received no response. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for February 10 in New York Supreme Court.

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Ma, who was a Chinese American, had been unresponsive and in a deep state of unconsciousness since he was hospitalized in April for treatment for his head injuries and his health slowly deteriorated over time until his death, Chan, a family spokesman, said.

“His wife has been devastated since the attack and she keeps saying ‘He’s always been a kind and loving family man. Why did this happen to him?'” Chan said.

“I hope that such attacks will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Chan said. “If you don’t, you’re sending a message to other people that it’s okay to do it.”

The attack on Ma came amid a spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans in New York City and across the country. It happened just over a month after eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in a shooting at Atlanta-area spas.

Chan said a private funeral has been arranged for Ma’s family and close friends and is expected to take place next week.

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