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The Gerritsen Beach man who pleaded guilty to participating in a bias-fueled attack against a group of black teenagers had his sentence tripled Tuesday because of his involvement in the headline-grabbing Chanukah beating on the Q train. Prosecutors confirmed that Joseph Jirovec, 19, was sentenced to one and a half to five years in prison for chasing down and beating a group of Brownsville teens in Gerritsen Beach back in 2006. After pleading guilty to attempted robbery in the third degree last September, Jirovec was expected to be sentenced to six months in prison. That all changed in December, when he and his friends were arrested for allegedly assaulting three Jewish residents who bid them a Happy Chanukah. Based on the charges and allegations made in the December arrest, a judge altered his sentence last week. Think of it as a parole violation, a spokesman from the Kings County District Attorneys office told this paper. When he [Jirovec] made his plea deal, it was under the understanding that he would not get in any more trouble. He apparently did, and now hes been given a longer jail sentence. The extended sentence was handed down after a hearing to determine if Decembers arrest was valid. Jirovec was in custody for several days before the hearing, officials said. As this paper was going to press, a grand jury was mulling over filing hate crime charges against Jirovec, his girlfriend Kimberly Babajko and eight friends involved in the Q train attack on December 7. According to police and published reports, the victims, two women and a man, were on a southbound Q train as it entered the Canal Street station at 11:15 p.m. when a group eight men and two women began throwing around anti-Semitic remarks, claiming that Jews had killed Jesus. The Jewish subway riders wished the group verbally abusing them a Happy Chanukah, reportedly responding to one of suspects who screamed, Merry Christmas at them. In response, the group flew into a rage and attacked. The brutal assault lasted from Canal Street to the DeKalb Avenue station in Brooklyn Heights, where police officers stopped the train and arrested the ten straphangers. Their victims were treated for bruising and swelling to their heads and face, officials said. At least one of the victims, 23-year-old Walter Adler, suffered a fractured nose. Jirovecs attorney, Peter Mollo, explained that the ten young men and women arrested werent responsible for the attack, which he said was initially instigated by the Jewish teens. The two groups were reportedly arguing when one of the Jewish riders pulled a knife, Mollo said. But when the police arrived, they just listened to one side of the story and arrested my client, said Mollo, who added that the hate crime charges are ridiculous, especially when it comes to Jirovec, whose own mother is Jewish. Jirovec, the son of a city firefighter, wasnt raised as a Jew and never had a bar mitzvah, officials said. Calls to Mollo for comment about his clients sentence were not returned as this paper went to press. Mollo reportedly defended Jirovec against the hate crime charges stemming from assault and robbery of four Brownsville residents. The victims claimed that they were riding their bikes around Marine Park and ended up getting lost in Gerritsen Beach when they found themselves being followed by a brown late-model Toyota Camry with four white males inside, officials alleged. Police said that the foursome in the car began screaming at the bike riders, calling them f--ing niggers and repeatedly shouting, You dont belong here! Youre going to get f--ed up for riding around our neighborhood, the suspects shouted, before they chased them, blocked off their escape and beat them, yelling, Niggers dont belong in this neighborhood. Besides Jirovec, the only other person to admit taking part in the 2006 attack was Allesandro Cerciello, who pleaded guilty to menacing on November 29. Cerciello was expected to be sentenced this week.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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