PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Emanuel Qosaj, the Palm Harbor man who attacked an elderly woman with a dog leash in April 2017, was sentenced Thursday to a 20-year prison term.
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The judge also sentenced Qosaj to five years of probation following his prison term. Qosaj will serve time for two additional charges at the same time as his term for the aggravated assault on a person 65 or older conviction.
During Qosaj's trial, prosecutors said he attacked a then 75-year-old Linda Konior because he hadn’t slept in days and was taking a number of drugs.
The defense countered that Qosaj attacked the victim because he suffers from schizophrenia, and that he thought the victim was the devil.
In a brief statement before his sentencing Qosaj read an apology to the victim.
“I just want to apologize to Ms. Linda and her family," he said. "My mind was not right. My mind has not been right for months. I believed that Ronald Regan was alive but I know now he is not."
His family also made an emotional plea on his behalf at sentencing.
“Do not punish him for what was beyond his control, because God already did,” Qosaj’s sister said.
Konior said hearing Qosaj’s family speak in court opened up old wounds.
“I was sitting back there and I could feel his body on top of me. I could hear him saying, ‘I’m going to kill you’ over and over,” she said.
“I’ve lost it a little and I don’t mean to," she continued. "I was trying very hard to be strong. No one should ever, ever have someone try to kill them no matter what.”
The judge in the case said the facts were the facts, and that Qosaj knew what he was doing at the time was wrong.