Authorities in New Jersey have arrested a man they say brutally assaulted and attempted to kill a complete stranger just because he thought the victim was gay.
José Tobias Carranza Serrano, 18, also known as Kevin Lopez, was taken into custody by police and charged with multiple offenses for the beating and attempted murder of the man he had just met. Police said Serrano lured the victim to North Hudson Park in North Bergen where he pummeled, strangled, and tried to gouge out the eyes of the victim. Serrano was covered in dried blood when he was arrested and rather than expressing remorse for the crimes, he allegedly confessed and told investigators he was "satisfied" with the assault, believing he had killed the man.
"This defendant is charged with attempting to kill a complete stranger because he thought the man was gay," Gurbir S. Grewal, New Jersey's attorney general, said in a statement. "The victim was beaten and choked so badly that he was unconscious for several hours before a passerby found him and called for help."
Serrano has been charged with one count each of first-degree attempted homicide, bias intimidation, first-degree robbery, and aggravated assault.
According to police, Serrano lured the victim to the south end of the lake in North Hudson Park with the intent of killing the stranger because he was gay. He then allegedly punched the victim in the face, knocking out several teeth and breaking multiple facial bones. Police say Serrano also tried to choke and strangle the victim, and that he left the unconscious man near a trail in the park thinking that he was dead. Serrano is also accused of stealing the victim’s smartphone and 8 dollars in cash. After he was discovered by a passerby several hours later, the victim was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center where he remains today clinging for his life.
At Serrano’s court hearing on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Danielle Scarduzio, argued against releasing him on bail.
"He expressed no remorse to the detectives and said that he was 'satisfied' with what he had done to the victim, who was a stranger to him," Scarduzio was quoted by NewJersey.com at Serrano’s hearing.
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale agreed and denied bail to Serrano, remanding him to custody for the duration of the trial.
Serrano faces decades behind bars if convicted. Sentences range from 15 to 30 years in prison for the bias charge, while the attempted murder charge could put Serrano behind bars between 10 to 20 years.