Babbitt, 62, attacked by Lashawn Marten, 40, allegedly because he was white
(Long Island, NY) He was just a man who wanted to buy some comic books.
Jeffrey Babbitt paid for that simple desire with his life after suffering fatal brain damage at the hands of a seemingly-random, racially-biased assault in Manhattan earlier this month; he was laid to rest on Tuesday in a small graveyard ceremony attended by a small group of friends and family, including his beloved mother.
Lashawn Marten, 40, charged with three counts of felony assault for attacking and killing Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn resident Jeffrey Babbitt. Photo credit: Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News.
While walking through Union Square Park on September 4 on the way to Forbidden Planet, a comic book store he frequented, Babbitt, 62, was attacked by Lashawn Marten, 40, who punched him in the head after previously announcing to witnesses that he was going to “punch the next white man I see.”
Babbitt, who lived in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and was the sole caregiver to his 94 year-old mother whom he lived with, fell to the pavement after being stuck by Marten, hitting his head hard. Marten proceeded to attack two other men, also white, who attempted to come to Babbitt’s aid; he then remained at the scene, waiting for the police to arrive who would place him into custody.
Jeffrey Babbitt, a retired train worker, was a kind, gentle man who cared for his mother and who loved comic books, fairy folklore, and gothic art. Photo credit: Handout 2013
Babbitt, whose head was bleeding profusely, was treaded at the scene and was able to stand under his own power after the incident; however, he was transported to nearby Bellevue Hospital Center where his condition quickly deteriorated. He was eventually declared brain dead by doctors and passed away on the morning of September 9.
Marten, who has a history of criminal arrests for charges ranging from assault to drug possession, was living in a home for people with “psychiatric disabilities” at the time of the attack. According to family members, Marten, who has gone by several other aliases in the past, has a track record of racial bigotry against white people. He’s currently being held in jail in lieu of $1,000,000 bail, and despite telling the New York Daily News in an interview that race played no part in his fatal assault of Babbitt, he nonetheless showed no remorse for his deeds.
Marten currently is charged with three counts of felony assault; with Babbitt’s death, these charges are likely to be upgraded, police say. In addition, police said that they are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime; an obvious course, many say, since multiple witnesses have come forward to support that claim that Marten announced his intent to punch a ‘white man’ before needlessly attacking Babbitt and, ultimately, ending his life.
By all accounts, Jeffrey Babbitt, a retired train worker, was a kind, gentle man who cared for his mother and who loved comic books, fairy folklore, and gothic art. He lived alone with his mother in an apartment building on Ocean Avenue in Sheepshead Bay and was her sole caregiver after his sister passed away from cancer two years ago; now, with his unexpected death, friends and neighbors worry for the future of his mother Lucille, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
Babbitt would often take the train into Manhattan and hang out in Union Square Park, and frequented several stores in the area- Forbidden Planet comic store, the Gothic Renaissance store and the Halloween Adventure shop. He was said to be very well-regarded among the staff of these establishments, and to show their support, several workers staged a memorial service while wearing fairy wings in Union Square Park on Wednesday- the very spot of Babbitt’s fateful attack. They handed out flyers to passers-by, and tried their best to help spread the word about the life of a harmless man whose life was needlessly snuffed out by the actions of a violent racist.
The world is a slightly darker place with the passing of Jeffrey Babbitt, a man who loved fairies, fantasy worlds, comic books, and the youthful escape they provided; it is hoped by many that Lashawn Marten pays a tall price for such a foul deed.