A father-of-two has been left with half a skull and a ‘sunken brain’ following a violent attack in New York City, with his attacker serving just two months of his sentence.
32-year-old Steven Augustine was savagely beaten with a baseball bat while on his way home from work in May 2018. Over a year on from the attack, he’s still fighting for his life.
Steven was left paralysed after the shattered left side of his skull was removed. He now requires further vital surgery to have a special plastic skull fitted to protect his brain.
Steven, who was left in a coma following his ordeal, now suffers from ‘sunken brain syndrome’, a rare complication whereby part of a person’s skull is removed following a major craniectomy.
Steven’s mother, Donna Augustine has been left dismayed after Steven’s attacker, Charles Miles, received a misdemeanour charge after pleading guilty to assault; serving just 72 days of his 365-day jail sentence, according to ABC7.
Medics have stated Steven’s injuries are consistent with blunt force trauma, indicating blows from a baseball bat. However, lawyers claim Miles only punched Steven one time, with his brain injury the result of falling backwards to the ground.
Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright explained that – as Miles did not intend to cause severe bodily harm – felony assault charges could not be brought against him:
The injuries to his face were consistent with a single punch. The skull fracture was consistent with a fall backwards.
But for ‘heartbroken’ mother Donna – who has visited her son in hospital every single day since the attack – justice has not been served.
Donna has hit back at the notion Steven’s injuries were caused by a single punch, expressing her outrage at the ‘light sentence’ served by Miles:
The damage that has been done could not have happened after one punch. He left side of his head shattered along with multiple skull fractures throughout his head and face, and he has had bleeding on the brain.
Charles Miles was given a light sentence and I want justice for my son who is fighting every single day for his life. Steven was a happy, fun-loving guy who loved his job as a chef – he would work 12-hour shifts and was still smiling at the end.
He loves his children and family more than anything in the world and to see him now, severely brain damaged, is devastating. I am heartbroken – my son is in a vegetated state.
A New York government agency which helps victims of crime has now agreed to fund Steven’s life-saving surgery, bringing some good news for the devastated family.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.