Suspect released without bail after Bronx sucker-punch attack
NEW YORK - The suspect accused of randomly sucker-punching a man in the head in the Bronx and leaving him in critical condition was released from jail on Thursday.
Van Phu Bui, 55, was given supervised release, which is not bail-eligible.
His charges were also downgraded from attempted murder to assault and harassment by the Bronx District Attorney's office, charges that are misdemeanors and not bail-eligible.
According to former prosecutor Imran Ansari, the release is down to New York's bail reform laws.
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"If they brought assault in the third degree, which is misdemeanor assault, it means that they don't have the evidence right now to show that it's a more serious assault or a felony," Ansari told FOX 5 NY. "Certain crimes, such as the one that this individual was charged with, do not allow a judge to set bail. They are not considered bail-setting offenses. And until the bail reform law itself is reformed or changed, then these people are going to be allowed to be set free without bail being set."
The victim in the case had to undergo brain surgery and is currently in a coma.
Police say they believe the attack was completely unprovoked.
Bui has a previous conviction for first-degree sex abuse from 1995 and was sentenced to six years in prison. He was paroled in 2019 and is registered as a Level 3 sex offender, the most serious designation.
Statement by Bronx District Attorney's Office
"The Bronx District Attorney's Office will continue to investigate the alleged attack on Jesus Cortes by defendant Bui Van Phu. The office is obtaining additional evidence, reviewing video, speaking to witnesses, analyzing medical records, and providing crime victim services. The defendant is currently charged with third-degree Assault and second-degree Harassment, which are not bail eligible under our current laws. As the investigation continues, it will be determined if elevated charges will be brought against the defendant. Any inquiries related to defendant’s parole status should be directed to the New York State Division of Parole."