Not Guilty Plea in Parking Assault Case

Manhattan Criminal CourtGrace Maalouf During an appearance at Manhattan Criminal Court, a Queens man pleaded not guilty to charges that he punched a woman during a dispute over a parking space in the East Village.

A Queens man who punched a woman in the face in a dispute about an East Village parking spot pleaded not guilty today to a felony charge of second-degree assault.

Oscar Fuller, arrested March 1 for the Feb. 25 incident which left Lana Rosas, 25, hospitalized in a coma, has maintained that the act was one of self-defense, and told reporters in March that surveillance footage would back up his claims.

Prosecutors today presented one security tape as pre-trial discovery, calling it a “very grainy video” taken from a great distance. Thomas Kenniff, Mr. Fuller’s lawyer, told The Local that though he hasn’t seen the footage, he has a “fairly good idea” based on his conversations with the prosecutor and his own investigator of what it would show. Mr. Kenniff has said that Ms. Rosas started the altercation.

“I don’t think they’re going to show everything that happened,” he said, but added that he thought the footage would be “favorable” to his client.

Mr. Kenniff also told reporters he believed the footage would show Ms. Rosas approaching his client, who has always maintained that Ms. Rosas initiated the conflict.

“I don’t believe it shows either party hitting each other,” he said. He told The Local he believed the footage came from security cameras from the Stuytown apartment complex across the street from the incident.

Judge Charles H. Solomon set a date of April 28 for Fuller to submit written defense motions, and another hearing is scheduled for May 26.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Fuller, 35, was looking to park along East 14th Street between Avenues A and B and saw Ms. Rosas standing in a parking spot to reserve it. An altercation ensued and prosecutors said that Mr. Fuller struck Ms. Rosas with such force that she fell to the ground and hit her head.

Mr. Kenniff said the defense will file a motion arguing that the allegations against Mr. Fuller do not warrant felony charges because Ms. Rosas’s injuries were “not foreseeable,” not a result of Mr. Fuller’s fist hitting her head.

“It’s one punch,” Mr. Kenniff said in a recent interview with The Local, adding that no one looking at the case objectively would think Fuller intended to put Ms. Rosas in a coma.

Mr. Kenniff said today that Ms. Rosas has come out of her coma and has made “remarkable improvements,” according to his discussions with the prosecution. Neither he nor Mr. Fuller have spoken with the Rosas family. Mr. Fuller, a union electrician, is back at work. Mr. Kenniff declined to specify where.