A 60-year-old gay man was violently beaten to death on Christmas Eve defending his partner from a gang of robbers who left the scene of the crime having stolen a single dollar.
Juan Fresnada and his 29-year-old partner Byron Caceres were leaving a McDonald’s restaurant in the Bronx near 1:30 a.m. when a man approached the couple demanding money.
Friends of the couple told NBC New York, “The guys just told them ‘Give me the money, give me the money.’ He was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’”
The couple reportedly tried to avoid the conflict by heading into a nearby deli, but the perpetrator followed them, and things quickly escalated.
“My husband tried to defend me,” Caceres told the New York Daily News. “The guy had his fist ready like he was ready to attack me. My husband said, ‘Don’t you get close to him.’”
Two other men joined the first and began to beat the couple. Defen defending his partner, Fresnada told Caceres to run to safety.
According to Caceres, the assault lasted between 10 and 15 minutes as the robbers beat Fresnada relentlessly before smashing a steel trash can on his head leaving him in the middle of East 165th Street with severe injuries to his legs and head.
When Caceres returned, he doesn’t own a cell phone and couldn’t call the police, his partner was bleeding and breathing heavily. The younger man attempted CPR but a bystander said that might not be a good idea since Fresnada was breathing so heavily.
According to NBC New York, throughout the ordeal, no one stopped to help the couple.
Eventually, an ambulance arrived to take the older man to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a fractured skull which led to swelling in his brain and blood pooling in the back of his skull. The younger man refused treatment and is expected to fully recover.
Fresnada remained hooked up to a ventilator and unresponsive until he died from his extensive injuries on Friday, December 27.
Caceres says he doesn’t believe the attack was a hate crime as he doesn’t remember hearing any homophobic slurs during the assault.
The two men met in 2015 through a program for low-income gay men and have been inseparable since.
The police have released this montage of surveillance footage of the men. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.