Lenient NYC judge releases unhinged homeless man who randomly struck woman in head: cops

A notoriously lenient city judge who recently sprung a Venezuelan migrant without bail after he stabbed a man in Times Square has struck again — releasing a vagrant who randomly bashed a woman in Union Square as she walked to work, cops said.

Jill Burke, 24, only learned her alleged attacker Eric Taylor was cut loose when she showed up to testify against him to a grand jury, The Post has learned.


Burke said she was walking around 10 a.m. to work at a startup financial firm on Jan. 31 when she was suddenly struck in the face with a heavy object and knocked to the ground.

“He was carrying a plastic bag full of things in one hand and kind of pointed at me with the other hand like he was aiming,” Burke, who lives in the East Village, told The Post.

“He took the plastic bag and hurled it at my face from about two feet away. I fell to the ground and then he just walked away.”

Police responded and took the bag as evidence — Burke said it felt like it had glass bottles in it but she never had a chance to look inside — before they tracked Taylor to a nearby electronics store and got a clear photo of him, she said.

Taylor, 50, told cops he threw the bag at Burke because “he thought she was a spy and was plotting against him,” court records show.

Burke suffered a black eye and a cut above her eyebrow. Her attacker was arrested and charged with felony assault, a bail-eligible offense.


If convicted on the top count, Taylor faces a minimum of three years in state prison.

But when Burke showed up to testify before a grand jury on Feb. 21, she learned the jurist appointed by Mayor de Blasio in 2021 had sprung Taylor.

“I don’t know how a judge would let someone like this walk free,” Burke said. “I looked up the judge’s name immediately. Just seeing the history and how many times she has repeatedly let very violent criminals go is just disgusting to me, really shocking.

“Obviously, I would like to see him stay in jail for a long time,” she said.

Morales, a Columbia Law School graduate, previously released Venezuelan migrant Walter Almachi Leal without bail after he slashed a 43-year-old man with a busted beer bottle on West 39th Street on Oct. 2, 2023, police said. Leal had only been in the country for two months. The alleged victim required 20 stitches in his arm.

In 2022, Morales was working as a Bronx jurist when she released ex-con Frankie Centeno with electronic monitoring for gun possession charges. Centeno had a history of violating parole. He fled the country and had to be rearrested four months later.


Burke’s attacker finally landed in jail six days after Morales released him — thanks to a different judge.

He was arrested Feb. 27 — for burglary at a closed Home Depot on West 23rd Street — and was sent to Rikers on $10,000 bail or $20,000 bond by Judge Michael Gaffey, jail records show. Prosecutors cited Burke’s assault and Taylor’s prior convictions in arguing for bail.

Burke made a TikTok video about the attack to warn other women, she said.

“Even though I don’t think there was anything I could do to prevent this from happening, I think it’s so important for women to always be prepared,” Burke, who’s 5-foot-9, said in the video.”Make sure you know what’s going on around you and get your head out of your phone because you just need to be so aware of your surroundings.”


“We don’t comment on bail decisions except to say that in cases like these in New York, judges have discretion in making bail decisions in accordance with the law and based solely on an assessment of a defendant’s risk of flight,” Baker said.

* Original Article: