New Year’s Eve Machete Attack Suspect Pleads Guilty to Attempted Murder and Assault, Federal Prosecutors Confirm
In a shocking incident that unfolded during the 2022 New Year’s Eve celebration near Times Square, Trevor Bickford, a 20-year-old man, pleaded guilty to federal charges related to his attempt to kill three New York City police officers.
Dressed in the tan scrubs of a federal prisoner, Bickford admitted guilt for three counts of attempted murder of law enforcement officers and three counts of assault of law enforcement officers.
During the court appearance at U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Bickford expressed remorse, acknowledging that he had “attempted to kill three uniformed N.Y.P.D. officers” on New Year’s Eve.
He openly admitted, saying, “I know what I did was wrong, and I’m sorry.” This guilty plea enables Bickford to avoid a federal trial, and his sentencing is scheduled for April 11, where he faces a maximum sentence of 120 years in prison for the charges.
The attack took place around 10 p.m. on December 31, 2022, leading to increased security measures at the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Bickford approached a group of officers at 52nd Street and Eighth Avenue near Times Square, shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he carried out the assault.
The court documents revealed that he used a long knife known as a kukri, fracturing one officer’s skull and attempting to grab another officer’s gun before being shot in the shoulder and taken into custody.
Had the case gone to trial, evidence would have included the machete used during the attack, a journal found at the scene containing Bickford’s last will, and his statements to authorities.
Prosecutors revealed that Bickford had expressed intentions of waging jihad abroad but chose to attack New York City, specifically targeting men in uniform. He considered all men of military age as his targets.
The FBI had opened an investigation into Bickford’s background in mid-December as a result of concerns expressed by his family.
The authorities learned that he had recently converted to Islam, attended mosques in Maine and New Hampshire, and showed interest in the Taliban. Despite purchasing a crossbow for a trip to Afghanistan, he canceled the journey to meet his visiting U.S. soldier brother.
During the court proceedings, it was disclosed that Bickford had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and had undergone psychiatric treatment since his arrest.
His aunt, Muriella D’Antilio, previously emphasized that she believed he was depressed and not a terrorist, expressing a desire to remove the “terrorist” label from him.
In a statement following Bickford’s guilty plea, Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, highlighted the brazen acts of violence and hatred committed by Bickford in the name of jihad during the iconic New Year’s Eve celebration.
Williams asserted that Bickford, like others who commit acts of terrorism, would now face a lengthy prison term.
Bickford’s guilty plea puts an end to the legal proceedings in the federal case, but he still faces state charges of attempted murder and assault stemming from the attack. The trial date for the state charges has not been set yet, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
The sentencing scheduled for April 11 will determine the consequences Bickford will face for the federal charges, marking a significant development in this harrowing case.