Thursday, December 10, 2009

Man Sentenced to 75 Years in Muggings of Elderly Women

A Queens man convicted of robbery, burglary and assault in the 2007 mugging of three women, including one who was 101 years old at the time – has been sentenced to 75 years in prison, or about one year for every dollar he stole from the three victims.

Jack Rhodes, 47, whose last known address was 1525 Ericksson Street in East Elmhurst, was convicted in October of first-degree burglary, first-and-second-degree robbery – all as hate crimes – and first-degree burglary, first-and-second-degree robbery and second-degree assault following a four-week jury trial. Last week, he was sentenced to 75 years in prison by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak.

“The defendants disturbingly cowardly attacks on elderly and defenseless women – two of whom needed the aid of a walker to get around – has rightfully cost him his future,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “He will now spend the rest of his life behind bars, never again having freedom to breathe fresh air or the opportunity to prey on society’s most frail and vulnerable citizens.”

According to trial testimony, Rhodes accosted 51-year-old Angela Khan as she entered her 182nd Street residence in Jamaica through the basement garage on the evening of Dec. 30, 2006. Rhodes punched and kicked Khan while robbing her of cash and other personal property, causing her to suffer a fractured nose, black eyes and lacerations to her face which required six stitches. The attack was caught on surveillance tape.

Shortly before noon on March 2, 2007, the superintendent of a Devonshire Road building in Jamaica confronted Rhodes, who was trespassing in the basement, and ordered him to leave. The super watched as Rhodes left the property with a red, pink and black bike.

Less than an hour later, Rose Morat – who was 101 years old at the time and uses a walker – was caught on surveillance video exiting the elevator on the main floor of her Highland Avenue building. Rhodes approached her in the vestibule and offered to open the front door for her. Rhodes then repeatedly punched Morat on the left side of her face while demanding money from her. The defendant then grabbed her pocketbook, which contained $33 and her house keys, before knocking her to the ground and fleeing on a bike. Morat sustained a fractured cheekbone, bruises and facial swelling in that attack.

About a half-hour later, 85-year-old Solange Elizee, who also uses a walker, was getting on the elevator of her 170th Street building at the lobby level when she saw Rhodes already on the elevator. Elizee exited the elevator alone one floor below her apartment and waited for the next elevator. As she exited on her floor and entered her apartment, Rhodes blocked the door from closing and forced his way inside.

Once inside the apartment, Rhodes repeatedly punched Elizee in the face, knocking her to the floor. The defendant then removed two yellow metal rings from her hand and took her pocket book, which contained $32. Once again, Rhodes fled from the scene on a bicycle, and Elizee was taken to a local hospital for treatment for lacerations to her lip, abrasions and bruising to her forearm, face and buttocks.

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