Trevor Bickford enters a subway station in New York City on Dec. 31, 2022, hours before he attacked police officers in Times Square. Surveillance image from court documents

A Wells man will serve 27 years in prison for attacking police at Times Square on New Year’s Eve in 2022.

Trevor Bickford, 20, was sentenced in federal court in New York on Thursday after he pleaded guilty in January to three counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault. He faced up to 120 years in prison, although prosecutors asked for at least 50 years. His defense attorneys argued for 10 years, citing his age, his struggles with untreated mental illness and history of abuse.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York said in a statement that Bickford’s sentence shows “that cowardly acts of terrorism will be met with law enforcement’s unwavering resolve to protect New York City, our country, and our core values of freedom and democracy.”

Bickford, who was 19 at the time of the attack, fought three police officers with a machete about two hours before the new year began. Prosecutors said he shouted “Allahu akbar” before hitting one officer in the head and going after another officer’s gun. He was stopped after an officer shot him in the shoulder.

The case prompted national attention, garnering a response from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland who said in a statement Thursday that the case demonstrates that the justice department will “always stand by its state and local law enforcement partners … and that includes being relentless in prosecuting those who seek to harm officers.”

Before sentencing, the two sides each offered U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel their take on the young man who traveled from Maine to New York more than a year ago with the intention of killing as many police officers as possible at one of the most densely populated places in the country.


Federal prosecutors and Bickford’s defense lawyers – federal public defenders in southern New York – did not respond to emails Thursday afternoon asking to discuss the sentence.

Prosecutors had said Biddeford’s attack was a premeditated act of “radical Islamic jihad” that Bickford had planned for months by studying materials promoted by the Taliban. They said Bickford “left his victims – including those he forced to witness and live through a terrorist attack – traumatized.”

Trevor Bickford’s attack was captured on officer body-camera footage, including this still showing Bickford perpetrating the attack. Courtesy United States Attorneys Office

One officer, who was working his first day after graduating from the NYPD academy, suffered a skull fracture and laceration to the back of his head that required more than a dozen stitches. He missed more than three months of work. The second officer continues to suffer pain from his injuries, constantly relives the trauma of the attack and is afraid to return to Manhattan, prosecutors said.

The third officer still has migraines, degraded speech and memory, and post-traumatic stress disorder, prosecutors said in the sentencing memo. He has not been able to return to work. He said “everything in his life has changed and the assault may end his career,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.

But Bickford’s family pleaded in letters they sent to Castel to take a step back and consider Bickford’s troubling signs of untreated mental illness in the months leading up to the attack.

In court records, they described psychotic symptoms that first began in spring 2022 – hallucinations of shadowy figures out of the corner of his eye, tingling in his hands and lips, the feeling of a leech on his face and popping noises that told him if he was making the right decisions.


His family said they were troubled when Bickford began obsessively watching YouTube videos about Islam, praying for six hours a day and planning to go to the Middle East to join the Taliban. It was out of character for a young man who had excelled in school and athletics and had never demonstrated an interest in Islam before.

According to court documents, Trevor Bickford joined the Civil Air Patrol program in Sanford where he trained for two years and learned how to fly a plane. He had hoped to enlist in the Air Force. Photo from a court document

High school friends said they later learned Bickford had been living in fear of an abusive father who was hyper-fixated on Bickford’s participation in wrestling. Bickford began to spiral after his father died in 2018 of an accidental overdose, they wrote, before the hallucinations began and he was prompted to explore different religions.

Weeks before the Times Square attack, Bickford told his mother he was a prophet and needed to travel to the Middle East. She took him to the hospital, concerned by his psychotic behavior, but he was soon discharged with a referral to outpatient treatment, according to a letter she submitted to the judge in which she urged him to have mercy on her son.

His lawyers in letters to the judge cited experts in terrorism-related cases who found that Bickford’s attack was “not the result of radicalization or extremism, but a product of ongoing auditory, tactile and visual hallucinations.”

Since Bickford’s arrest, he is now receiving treatment and says he is ashamed of his actions.

In his own letter to Castel, Bickford said he takes responsibility for what he did.

“I didn’t know it then, but I was sick. I was hearing voices and noises that weren’t there, but to me, they felt real,” Bickford wrote. “By the time I attacked the officers, I had become someone else.”

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