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    Fiend who punched 9-year-old girl at Grand Central in provoked attack says he hit her because he was ‘thirsty’: prosecutors

    By Reuven Fenton, David Propper,


    The brute accused of punching a 9-year-old girl at Grand Central Terminal allegedly told police he launched the unprovoked attack because he was “thirsty,” prosecutors said Monday.

    The bizarre motive for Jean Carlos Zarzuela’s alleged Saturday assault was revealed by prosecutors during his arraignment during which he was ordered held on $100,000 bail — after being cut loose earlier this month following a similar attack.

    “I hit the girl in the face because I was thirsty,” Zarzuela, 30, allegedly told a detective, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Shara Safer said during the arraignment. “Maybe I hit her in the face by accident.”
    Jean Carlo Zarzuela was arrested Sunday and appeared in court on Monday. G.N.Miller/NYPost

    When requesting bail, Safer referenced a separate but similar case involving Zarzuela where he allegedly punched a woman multiple times on April 4 that left her with a bloody nose and eye swollen shut.

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    “Bail was set on this case on April 4th. However, the People and the police were not able to secure the paperwork to meet the 170.70 burden and the defendant was released on his own recognizance on April 9th,” Safer said in reference to a clause where prosecutors can show good cause to keep a defendant in custody beyond five days on misdemeanor charges.

    In the April 4 case, Zarzuela was arraigned on assault, reckless endangerment and harassment charges.

    “The defendant is before us today, six days after his release, because he again punched a stranger, a 9-year-old stranger, in the face in Grand Central,” Safer said.

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    The man allegedly carried out two assaults in Grand Central this month. Paul Martinka

    The little girl was taken to NYU Langone-Tisch Hospital following Saturday’s assault, sources previously said.

    He was also accused of attempting to assault another person during the alleged outburst, according to a criminal complaint.

    He’s facing two counts of third-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child, third-degree attempted assault and second-degree harassment.


    Before his two cases this month, Zarzuela had a history of other arrests and was placed on supervised release tied to a case a year ago, Safer said in court.

    “He failed to appear at his next court date and a bench warrant was issued. The defendant returned involuntarily to court nearly a year later when he was arrested again for punching a stranger in the face,” Safer said in reference to the April 4 assault.
    The suspect was held on $100,000 bail. NYPD

    Manhattan Judge Melissa Lewis said on Monday the case was bail eligible based on the “harm-to-harm theory” that Safer offered in which two victims were assaulted separately by the same alleged perp.

    Zarzuela wore the same grimy white sweatshirt in court he was seen in on Sunday following his arrest.

    Judge Lewis also ordered a psychiatric exam for the defendant.

    He is due back in court on April 19.

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