Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

A New York couple was convicted for breaking the jaw of a Sesame Place worker who asked them to wear masks

Troy McCoy and Shakerra Bonds were found guilty of attacking the teen during an confrontation last August. Both were held in lieu of bail.

Troy McCoy and Shakerra Bonds had traveled to Sesame Place last summer from their home in New York. Prosecutors say they attacked a teenaged employee at the park during a dispute over the park's mask policy.
Troy McCoy and Shakerra Bonds had traveled to Sesame Place last summer from their home in New York. Prosecutors say they attacked a teenaged employee at the park during a dispute over the park's mask policy.Read moreCLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer

A Bucks County jury on Friday convicted a Bronx couple of assaulting a Sesame Place worker and breaking his jaw last summer after he asked them to wear face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a three-day trial, the jury found Troy McCoy, 40, guilty of aggravated assault, simple assault, disorderly conduct, and reckless endangerment of another person. His girlfriend, Shakerra Bonds, 32, was found guilty of simple assault and disorderly conduct in the August incident at the theme park in Langhorne.

Both were taken into custody, in lieu of $15,000 bail for McCoy and $25,000 bail for Bonds.

The victim, Dillon Mays, 19, and his coworkers testified that McCoy “sucker punched” him from behind as he was arguing with Bonds. Bonds admitted during her own testimony that she, too, had punched Mays in the face moments before McCoy landed a blow powerful enough to knock the teen to the ground.

She said she did so out of self-defense, and that Mays had been acting aggressively, scaring her children.

Mays’ jaw was broken in two places, and had to be wired shut after multiple surgeries.

Defense attorneys for McCoy and Bonds — Brooks Thompson and Keith McAndrews, respectively — spent the trial asserting that Mays was the instigator and aggressor in the encounter. They said the pair had been defending themselves and their family members, gathered at Sesame Place to celebrate their son’s fourth birthday.

Thompson said McCoy attacked Mays after hearing one of his children yell “don’t hurt mommy,” and believing she was being threatened.

“Mr. McCoy didn’t intend to fracture this guy’s jaw,” Thompson told the jurors. “He made a snap decision, acting in a split second.”

The two attorneys also targeted the statements of the other park employees who witnessed the attack, casting them as unreliable, inconsistent and attempting to protect Mays from trouble.

» READ MORE: Two charged in Sesame Place mask assault acted in self-defense, lawyer says

But Deputy District Attorney Alan J. Garabedian told the jurors that McCoy attacked a teenager doing his job out of “some dumb challenge to manly ideals,” and likened Bonds to “a member of the Flyers from the ‘80s” for her aggressive behavior.

“These kids were trying to deescalate the situation, they were trying to do what they were supposed to do,” Garabedian said. “These kids did not deserve the nonsense they got from Troy McCoy and Shakerra Bonds.”

The Bronx residents encountered Mays on Aug. 9 as he worked a ride in the park. Mays testified that when he told McCoy he needed to wear a mask, McCoy scoffed, saying he didn’t need to listen to the teen because he was old enough to be his father.

Hours later, McCoy encountered Mays again and challenged the teen to a fight.

Shortly after, Bonds and Mays began to argue, and Mays testified that he put his hands up to put some distance between him and Bonds.

» READ MORE: He punched a teen worker at Sesame Place because he didn’t want to wear a mask, police said. On Wednesday, he was arrested.

Bonds then punched Mays in the face. Soon after, McCoy joined the fray, punching Mays from behind.

The couple then quickly left the park, ignoring requests from security officers to provide a statement, other than Bonds telling one of the officers, “He pushed me.”

One of the security officers recorded the couple’s license plate, which they traced to an address in the Bronx. Bonds turned herself in to police, but McCoy was arrested by U.S. Marshals after a short standoff.

The jurors acquitted the couple of conspiracy related to the fight that injured Mays, and also acquitted Bonds of a second simple assault charge for allegedly striking another Sesame Place employee during the brawl.

President Judge Wallace H. Batemen ordered them to be sentenced in 90 days.