BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Don’t mess with Ray.
The unhinged man who attacked the iconic Avenue A egg cream mixologist last January has been slapped with a stiff sentenced in state prison.
On Wednesday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin announced the sentencing of Luis Peroza, 40, to a decade behind bars — plus five years of post-release supervision — for assaulting three men, including the nonagenarian owner of Ray’s Candy Store, in separate attacks in the East Village.
On Dec. 14, Peroza pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to three counts of assault in the first degree.
“Luis Peroza has been held accountable for viciously assaulting three individuals in just one day,” Bragg said. “Among those attacked was the beloved owner of Ray’s Candy Store, who despite the attack, has shown great courage and resilience by returning to work and continuing to spread joy — as he has for decades. I hope that this sentencing can bring a sense of justice and relief for each of the victims.”
At the time of the incident, Peroza lived at 109 Avenue D, at Eighth Street, a 45-unit building run by Community Access, which specializes in supportive housing and services for people with mental health concerns.
A co-defendant, Gerald Barth, 55 — known as”Insanity Claus” in Tompkins Square Park — Peroza’s alleged sidekick during the assault spree, during a court appearance last June was found to be unfit to stand trial. Barth was then transferred from the Department of Corrections to the custody of the Office of Mental Hygiene. According to the D.A.’s Office, Barth’s case “will move forward if/when he is found fit [to stand trial].”
According to court documents and statements made on the record, on Jan. 31, 2023, around 3 a.m., Peroza approached Ray Alvarez (real name Asghar Ghahraman), then age 90, the owner of Ray’s Candy Store, as he stood outside the place on Avenue A just north of E. Seventh Street. Peroza asked if Ray would buy some canned drinks from him, but Ray said declined. Peroza then whipped the veteran merchant in the head with a hard object, breaking his jaw, fracturing his facial bones and giving him a black eye.
Ray said it was something like a belt with a rock on the end of it that the attacker lashed him with.
About a half hour later, Peroza demanded money from a 33-year-old man as he left a deli on Avenue C. The man said he did not have any cash and Peroza struck him in the face with a hard object, breaking his orbital bone and causing a severe laceration to his face.
Several hours later, Peroza approached a 51-year-old man on Avenue B and repeatedly struck him in the head with a hard object, lacerating his face and head, knocking out a tooth and fracturing his facial bones.
In his guilty plea, Peroza admitted to the three assaults.
D.A. Bragg thanked the Police Department’s 9th Precinct, particularly Detective Matthew Santoro.