Following accusations of pushing a stranger into an oncoming subway train, Jose Rojas was convicted Friday of assault but acquitted of attempted murder.
The prosecution alleged that Rojas walked up to Ute Linhart on the uptown platform at the 28th Street station in Manhattan and pushed her into a train as it came into the station in August 2010.
The victim endured every New Yorker's nightmare on the subway platform, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement Friday.
Rojas' lawyers, however, said he simply stumbled into her according to The Associated Press.
After leaving work at a downtown restaurant, Rojas, 26, drank four and a half beers in about two hours, prosecutors said. Before pushing Linhart into the train, he cursed at and made threatening gestures toward a random couple.
Linhart, 40, testified that a young man came up behind her, poked his face around her shoulder, looked at her with a strange stare and forcefully pushed onto her back as a train arrived.
However, she didn't remember his facial features.
Linhart suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken facial bone and neck and leg injuries. Hospitalized for eight days and missing six months of work, she said she is still in pain every day.
Bystanders on the platform stopped Rojas from fleeing, and he told them he didn't know why he pushed her, according to a court complaint. The surveillance cameras couldn't capture the incident because other people were in the way.
He's very sorry for what happened, but accidents happen all the time, and you can't punish people for an accident, defense lawyer Roger Asmar said.
Rojas has been in jail since the August 2010 incident and now faces up to 25 years in prison. His sentencing will take place March 16.