The Maine 20-year-old accused of trying to murder NYPD officers in a 2022 New Year’s Eve machete attack near Times Square changed his plea on several terror-related counts to guilty Thursday.
Trevor Bickford was indicted a year ago on terror charges including attempted murder, assault and aggravated assault on a police officer, according to the Manhattan DA. He pleaded guilty to five counts involving those charges, which stem from the Dec. 31, 2023, attack on three cops he approached on Eighth Avenue between 51st and 52nd streets.
Bickford told the judge he was under psychiatric treatment for schizoaffective disorder.
Then, in a separate statement to the court, he said, “On Dec. 31, 2022, I attempted to kill 3 uniformed NYPD officers in an attack with a knife while they were working. I know what I did was wrong and I’m sorry.”
All three officers were treated for their injuries and released from the hospital a day after the incident.
Bickford’s family was in the courtroom Thursday for the plea change, including his mother, stepfather and two aunts, who had tears in their eyes. Bickford faces up to 120 years in prison when he is sentenced.
Had the case gone to trial, among the government’s evidence were the 12-inch machete used in the attack, a journal found at the scene with Trevor’s “last Will and Testament” and officers’ bodycamera video that shows the attack.
It also would include statements made by Bickford when he was arrested, including, “I walked around Times Square trying to figure out the right time to kill” and “I intended to die in the attack and achieve martyrdom.
Bickford is set to be sentenced on April 11.
Senior law enforcement officials had described him as a “homegrown violent extremist” who tried to carry out the assault with a large knife on a night when midtown streets were jam-packed. Bickford was shot in the shoulder amid the chaos that ensued. He allegedly made statements to detectives implicating himself once in custody.
As neighbors describe the officer hurt in the attack as a caring young man, there are also questions about whether the suspect in the New Year’s Eve machete melee may have tried to reach for an officer’s gun. NBC New York’s Ida Siegal reports.