Thursday, February 5, 2009

Man Convicted of '06 Home Invasion Rape

Linked to Richmond Hill Crime with DNA

A Far Rockaway man has been convicted of a 2006 rape in Richmond Hill after blood found at the scene was linked to his DNA, which was on file from a prior conviction. The man posed as a police officer while raping the woman at knifepoint.

Antonio Ortiz, 42, of 8502 Rockaway Boulevard was convicted last Friday of predatory sexual assault, first-degree rape, criminal sexual act, burglary and attempted rape following a three-week jury trial in Queens Criminal Court. He faces three consecutive sentences of 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on March 5.

“This case underscores yet again the crucial importance of DNA evidence,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “A drop of blood found at the crime scene was key to identifying the defendant and bringing him to justice. The maximum penalty is warranted for this defendant who is a violent predicate felon with prior convictions for both burglary and sexual assault.”

According to trial testimony, a 37-year-old woman was spending the night at a friend’s Richmond Hill home on August 24, 2006 when she awoke at about 3:30 a.m. and saw Ortiz – who had entered through a first-floor kitchen window. Ortiz, who was holding a knife, identified himself as police officer. When she tried to flee, Ortiz pushed her back on the bed and forcibly raped her. He then robbed her and the homeowner of jewelry, money and other items before fleeing.

A drop of blood recovered from the kitchen window ledge where Ortiz entered the apartment was matched to his DNA, which was on file with the national DNA databank following his conviction in a Brooklyn burglary. According to Brown, this also marks the first conviction in Queens County under the newly enacted predatory sexual assault statute, which enhances penalties for offenders who commit violent sex crimes while armed with a dangerous weapon.

The investigation was conducted by Detective Jon Hafner of the NYPD’s Queens Special Victims Squad with assistance from the 102nd Precinct.

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