Two charged in Sesame Place mask assault acted in self-defense, lawyer says
Prosecutor say Troy McCoy and Shakerra Bonds attacked 17-year-old worker at the theme park in August.
Police say a New York couple attacked a teenaged Sesame Place worker this summer as he tried to enforce the theme park’s mask policy. But an attorney for one of the suspects cast doubt Thursday on what, and who, triggered the attack.
Still, Bucks County District Judge John J. Kelly held Troy McCoy and Shakerra Bonds for trial on assault charges, sending the case on to county court.
McCoy, 40, was charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy, and related offenses in the Aug. 9 attack, which took place at a ride at the Langhorne theme park. His roommate, Bonds, 39, faces charges of simple assault and conspiracy for allegedly attacking another park employee who tried to break up the fight.
In court Thursday, the victim said Bonds attacked him during an argument, striking him in the face and causing him to lose consciousness. The teen — whose name The Inquirer is withholding because he is a minor — required multiple reconstructive surgeries to his jaw, and said he still cannot eat solid foods two months later.
Witnesses say McCoy then joined in on the attack, punching the teen from behind and putting him in a headlock, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest.
Bonds' attorney, Keith McAndrews, painted a different picture Thursday: He said that the injured employee attacked Bonds as she held her 4-year-old son and that she had acted in self-defense.
“Miss Bonds is innocent,” McAndrews said after the hearing. “She’s a single mother. She’s not at this park to get into confrontations with any employees; she’s there to have a good time. She was confronted by an employee and that’s what really set this thing in motion.”
McCoy’s attorney, Brooks Thompson, declined to comment after the proceedings Thursday.
McCoy and Bonds first encountered the teen around 1 p.m. on the day of the attack, investigators said. The employee told McCoy to pull his mask over his face, as was required by the park’s COVID-19 mitigation policy, authorities said. The Bronx native refused, the teen testified Thursday, quoting McCoy as saying he was “old enough to be [his] father" and didn’t have to listen to him.
Hours later, as the teen was working at another ride, he again encountered McCoy, who recognized him and threatened him, according to testimony. McCoy challenged the teen to a fight and asked to be taken off the ride.
The teen said he then left the area at the direction of his supervisor. As he did so, Bonds, who was also on the ride, “charged" at him, the teen said, as other employees tried to get between them.
McAndrews said the teen shoved Bonds first, leading her to attack him.
One of those coworkers testified that Bonds shoved the teen and that McCoy hopped over a nearby fence to confront him, “sucker-punched” him from behind and took him to the ground in a headlock.
As the coworker, who is also a juvenile, tried to pull McCoy off the teen, Bonds elbowed her in the face, causing a minor injury, she said in court Thursday.
The couple fled the park after the fight, and employees took photos of their license plate. Investigators tracked the couple to their apartment in the Bronx, where McCoy was taken into custody after a standoff with police, the affidavit said. He remains in custody in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Bonds later surrendered to police and posted $1,000 bail.