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Man pleads guilty in hammer attack in NYC park

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October 8, 2013 04:04 PM EST | AP


NEW YORK — NEW YORK (AP) — A Canadian drifter has admitted he bashed a stranger in the head with a claw hammer in a New York City park. The case was complicated by an identity twist.

Douglas Epp pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted murder in the July 2012 attack. He's been promised a 14-year prison sentence.

The Manhattan district attorney's office says Epp abruptly started hammering at a Spanish tourist sitting by him on a downtown park bench. Victim Hugo Alejandre was treated for a spinal fracture.

Epp told investigators he believed the victim had made derogatory remarks about him.

Epp initially gave authorities an alias: the name of a former acquaintance who's known in Canadian chess circles.

He also has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor identity-theft charge.