By Jessica Jupiter & Nadira Foster-Williams
A homeless man charged with an assault-turned-fatal recently in Union Square made a second court appearance Tuesday when he was ordered to face a grand jury that was expected to upgrade the charges and label the incident a hate crime.
Martin Redrick, 40, identified in early media reports as, Lashawn Martin, 31, stands accused of killing Jeffrey Babbitt, 62, in broad daylight after striking him with a fatal blow in front of a throng of onlookers.
Babbitt, 62, a zealous comic book collector from Brooklyn was on his way to buy more comics for his collection when he encountered Redrick.
A witness who played chess with Redrick moments before the assult recalled him saying, “The next white person who runs into me, I’m going to knock them out.”
Babbitt, a former MTA employee who was his 92-year-old mother Hedda’s main caretaker, was “minding his own business,” when Redrick allegedly hit him, causing him to strike his head on the pavement.
Following Babbitt’s assault, Redrick reportedly struck two more bystanders.
The defendant was impassive at his appearance in Manhattan Supreme Court and showed no emotion as he was led i=out in handcuffs.
The grand jury was scheduled to meet October 16.