Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —
David L. Alfonso couldn't answer the one-word question asked of him by Niagara County Judge Sara S. Farkas on Monday.
As in, why attack a child so viciously?
Farkas sentenced Alfonso to 15 years in state prison for his New Year's Eve 2012 assault on a 7-year-old Lockport girl.
Back in July, Alfonso pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted assault, a class C violent felony.
Alfonso was accused of choking the girl so hard, she passed out, and of trying to tear away the girl's jaw and tongue. According to police, the girl's mouth was badly injured, and she lost a tooth.
Alfonso's silence in court on Monday seemed to displease the judge.
"You can't answer (why). And that makes you a frightening man," Farkas told him.
In a pre-sentence report, Alfonso reportedly blamed his use of bath salts, marijuana and drugs for his behavior. At the time of the attack, Alfonso claimed, he was practicing Santeria and believed he was choking "evil spirits" out of the girl.
Alfonso's attorney, David C. Douglas, didn't endorse the Santeria claim, but he insisted that Alfonso must have been intoxicated in some way.
"You can't rationally explain irrational behavior," he said. "There's no rational explanation ... . There's no motive."
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello asserted there was. Alfonso reportedly had been physically picking at the girl until her mother pushed him away and demanded he stop touching her daughter. Alfonso then picked up the girl and attacked her, not stopping until the mother stabbed him.
"He blames it on drugs, blames it on expelling spirits from her body, but none of it explains why he did it," Donatello said. "He didn't like the mother sticking up for the little girl, instead of siding with him."