Brooklyn Man Is Indicted After Alleged Hate Crime Assaults on Women, Faces 25 Years If Convicted as Charged
The Brooklyn Supreme Court arraigned Khari Covington on a 52-count indictment
Brooklyn resident Khari Covington was arraigned on a 52-count indictment linked to hate crimes on Wednesday.
Covington, 29, allegedly attacked seven women between August 5, 2020 and January 4, 2021 in the East Williamsburg and Bushwick neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced in a press release.
He is accused of numerous assault, strangulation and burglary crimes that are being investigated by the District Attorney's Hate Crimes Bureau.
Covington allegedly targeted the victims "because they were women and light-skinned," the press release states.
"This defendant's alleged violent and unprovoked attacks endangered the women he targeted and caused widespread fear in the community. I am committed to prosecuting all hate crimes where victims, including as alleged in this case, are targeted because of their gender, skin color or race," Gonzalez stated.
Five of the attacks occurred at the Morgan Avenue L-train subway station, one occurred in a nearby building of the subway station and one occurred at a smoke shop on Wilson Avenue.
Covington was arrested on Jan. 5 after allegedly attacking smoke shop employee Tina Francisco.
"I was very scared," she told the New York Post after the attack. "He just wanted to hurt me and feel powerful."
Two other women identified themselves as victims of Covington's alleged attacks.
"He came out of nowhere, he started punching me. He hit my face, my chest, my shoulder," Bianca Fortis told NBC News.
Victim Elizabeth Wakefield told the outlet, "He was coming down behind me, and he must have — from the angle and from what I've gathered — kicked me in the side of the face and head from behind. My immediate thought after it happened to me was, I really hope this doesn't happen again to somebody else."
Covington's bail has been set at $150,000. It is unclear if Covington has retained legal representation who can speak on his behalf or if he has entered a plea at this time.
He is "considered a mandatory violent persistent felony offender" and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted as charged, the press release says. He is due to appear in court on April 13.
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Covington's attorney Murphy Martin Mitchell did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request to comment.