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Convict receives 120 years for robbing Queens women

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Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the sentence...

By Philip Newman

A 44-year-old convict who had served 11 years in prison has been sentenced to 120 years behind bars for terrorizing women in a three-week series of knifepoint robberies in Queens neighborhoods.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the sentence "assures that the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison."

Darryl Gray of 55 LaSalle St. in Manhattan was convicted in June 2003 of multiple counts of robbery in the first degree and sentenced on Monday by Queens Supreme Court Justice William Donnino.

The holdups took place in Flushing, Forest Hills, Sunnyside and Woodside.

Brown said eight of the nine victims, women aged 25 to 52 who included attorneys, a physician, a secretary and an administrative aide, identified Gray as their attacker. Two of them, Doreen Higgins, 20, and Colleen McNicholas, 33, appeared in court to ask the judge to impose the maximum penalty.

The DA said the first robbery took place on Dec. 16, 2000 and the last on Jan.4, 2001 with most of the attacks occurring between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. when the robber followed the women home from the subway.

Police arrested Gray as he sat in a Manhattan-bound No. 7 train at 52nd Street and Roosevelt Ave. in Jackson Heights.

The last victim, a 41-year-old receptionist for a Manhattan dentist, was attacked in the lobby of her building in Flushing. Brown said the defendant tackled the woman from behind, held a knife to her throat and demanded her jewelry and cash. Shortly after the robber fled, the victim telephoned police.

Police halted a No. 7 train, searched the cars and found a man wearing a green jacket, matching the description of the apparel in the victim's verbal portrait of her attacker. Detectives said he had more than $200 in cash, a wedding ring and jewelry stolen from his victim along with a five-inch steak knife.

Brown said Gray began the robbery spree two months after his release from prison where he had served 14 years for robbery and sexual assault in a similar pattern committed against six women in Manhattan.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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