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Judge declares mistrial in parking assault case

TimesLedger Newspapers

A jury could not come to an agreement Monday about the fate of a Jamaica livery cab driver who assaulted a woman over a Manhattan parking spot, but prosecutors said they will try to make their case again.

The attorney for Oscar Fuller, however, said he would be ready for Round 2.

Fuller’s lawyer, Tom Kenniff, expressed relief when a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge declared a mistrial in his client’s assault case after the jury said only 11 of its 12 members found Fuller guilty.

The 35-year-old has maintained he was acting in self-defense when he punched Lana Rosas Feb. 25 after the two got into an argument over a parking spot she was holding for a friend at 14th Street and Avenue A.

Rosas, who is 8 inches shorter than the 5-foot-7 Fuller, was in a coma for weeks after the assault and is still recuperating from serious brain injuries from the fight, according to prosecutors.

Kenniff said the media’s portrayal of the case negatively affected his client’s case, but he was happy that at least one juror was sympathetic to Fuller’s side of the story.

“The jury hears that a young woman was severely injured and there is a lot of emotion, but at the end of the day this case comes down to intent,” Kenniff said.

A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said it would be pursuing a retrial. Kenniff said he and his client, who was released on bail following his arrest, are prepared to face a new jury and fight for a complete exoneration.

“I don’t think there is any way anyone can say that Oscar Fuller intended to cause these injuries,” he said.

Fuller hit Rosas so hard that the 24-year-old “flew off of her feet, was knocked unconscious and hit her head on the ground,” according to prosecutors. He then walked away from the corner after the 11:30 p.m. fight. Doctors had to remove part of her skull to help relieve swelling in her brain and she still wears a helmet to protect her head, prosecutors said.

Fuller, who declined to comment to reporters after the mistrial was declared, publicly apologized to Rosas and her family. He has not spoken to the victim since the incident due to the criminal case, according to Kenniff, but the attorney said he still feels sorry for her condition.

“We’ve all said our thoughts and prayers are with Lana Rosas. She has progressed a tremendous deal and we hope it continues,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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