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Man convicted of mugging elderly Jamaica residents

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The mugger who put two elderly Queens women in the hospital after he attacked them at their doorsteps was convicted Tuesday afternoon following a second trial, the Queens district attorney said.

Jurors took less than eight hours of deliberation over two days to find Jack Rhodes guilty on 13 charges, including assault and robbery as a hate crime, in attacks that took place onDec. 30, 2006, and March 4, 2007, the DA’s office said. Rhodes, 47, violently assaulted a 101-year-old Jamaica Estates woman and an 85-year-old Jamaica woman on the same day after robbing them of their cash and belongings while they were near their homes.

“The defendant’s propensity to savagely accost elderly and defenseless women, two of whom needed the aid of a walker to get around, was rightly condemned by today’s guilty verdict,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “It is fitting that his victims ... have been able to bear witness to the defendant being brought to justice and held accountable for his crimes.”

Rhodes, who avoided earlier prosecution for his charges last year after a mistrial, was also convicted of assault and robbery charges in the third mugging of Angela Khan, then 51, in Jamaica on Dec. 30, 2006, according to the DA.

He is slated to be sentenced Nov. 12, when he faces between 39 and 90 years in prison, according to Brown.

On Dec. 30, 2006, Khan was assaulted by Rhodes as she entered her Jamaica apartment and robbed of cash and personal property, the DA said. She suffered a fractured nose, black eyes and cuts that required six stitches, according to Brown.

On March 4, 2007, Rhodes helped Rose Morat, 101, into her Jamaica Estates apartment building, but grabbed her pocketbook and took cash and her keys, Brown said. During the mugging, which was captured on surveillance cameras in the building, he punched the senior citizen in the face and threw her to the floor while she was holding on to her walker, according to the DA.

Morat was treated at an area hospital for a fractured cheekbone and bruises to her face, the DA said.

About half an hour after he attacked Morat, Rhodes violently mugged Solange Elizee as she entered her 170th Street home, according to Brown. He slugged the 85-year-old in the face, kicked her and stole two rings and cash, the DA said.

Elizee was also sent to the hospital for treatment of a cut lip and bruises all over her body, according to the DA.

Rhodes was on the lam for a month but finally was arrested by the police.

The East Elmhurst resident was originally on trial for the attacks last year, but the case ended in a mistrial in December after a juror asked to be excused following a lengthy criminal proceeding.

The second jury trial lasted approximately four weeks and included testimony from the family of the elderly victims.

The attacks against Morat and Elizee were condemned by leaders at the state and city level and led to Albany passing the “Granny Law” last year. The law enforces harsher penalties against criminals who commit violent acts against seniors.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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