Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Victim of savage beating works for Westchester County

Westchester Medical Center

The Peekskill man charged last week with attempted murder in the savage beating of a Westchester County social services employee failed to appear in court four times since October 2023 on a prior charge of violent behavior.

According to the complaint filed by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office involving an unprovoked attack in an apartment on South Street in Peekskill on May 14, Hasseem Jenkins “… repeatedly punch[ed] [Maria] Coto with his fists and did repeatedly kick Ms. Coto with heavy boots … above the head and body causing Ms. Coto to sustain severe brain bleed, swelling of the brain, and multiple facial fractures …”

In the complaint, the District Attorney’s office states that the victim required immediate surgery at Westchester Medical Center and requires a ventilator in order to breathe.

Responding at approximately 3:10 p.m. last Tuesday to multiple reports of an assault in progress at an apartment at 900 South St., Peekskill police officers took Jenkins, 31, into custody and then charged him with second-degree attempted murder, a Class A-1 felony, and first-degree assault.

Upon arrival at the scene, police found Coto, 56, with severe injuries. EMS and Peekskill fire department personnel responded to the call and immediately provided medical aid to the victim, who was then taken to the Medical Center in Valhalla. Coto is thought to have been seeing a client in the apartment when she was attacked.

According to Peekskill police, the case remains open and continues to be investigated by the Peekskill police detective bureau. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Peekskill Police Detective Division at 914-737-8000 or by email at [email protected]

Anonymous tips may also be made at under the crime tips section.

No arrest warrant issued for failure to appear in court

In the prior case, Jenkins was arrested on Oct. 20, 2023 in front of the Field Library and charged with disorderly conduct, a violation. According to the complaint, Jenkins was ordered to leave the area and refused, striking a relative of his who was in the plaza outside the library. He faced a maximum of 15 days in jail on that charge.

Jenkins proceeded to fail to appear for a series of court dates. He did not appear in court for his first scheduled appearance on Nov. 2 in front of Judge Lissette Fernandez.

At a Dec. 14 court date he was arraigned on the charges, pled not guilty and was released on his own recognizance.

Jenkins failed to appear in court again at a Jan. 11, 2024 date and also was missing at hearings of his case on Feb. 1 and March 14. Instead of issuing a bench warrant for his arrest, Judge Fernandez rescheduled his case to a hearing on April 18. On that date the defendant requested a non-jury trial, which was scheduled for May 16, two days after his attack on Coto. He is due back in Peekskill City Court on May 30 on the current charges.

According to a published report, Jenkins was arrested in 2011 and charged with felony assault as a 19-year-old after Peekskill police witnessed him punch a 16-year-old boy in the face as he was leaving a party at the former Christopher Columbus Club on Crompond Road at 11:20 p.m. on Nov. 25.

Police also charged his older sister Quantasia with pulling a police officer away from her brother as he was being arrested, allowing him to flee. Officers chased Hasseem Jenkins to a residence on the 900 block of Second Street, but lost him.

Hasseem Jenkins later turned himself in and was charged with second-degree assault, a class D felony, as well as resisting arrest and interfering with governmental administration, both misdemeanors, according to the published report.










About the Contributor
Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts has been in this business for more than 35 years (hard to believe) and still learning every day. A third-generation Peekskill resident, he started as a lowly researcher at the Westchester Business Journal in 1986 and learned how to be a reporter from many veterans in the field. He’s worked in private companies, Connecticut state government and wrote for the Co-op City Times for 10 years before retiring from full-time work in 2019. Roberts wants to contribute to building the Herald into a news website for residents who care about what’s happening in Peekskill.