Today’s news:

81-year-old Astoria man beaten

A 23-year-old Long Island City man was arrested last week on charges of attacking an 81-year-old Astoria man, who suffered memory loss, and stealing his car, the Queens district attorney said.

Jesus Fernandez, of 27-10 8th St. in Long Island City, was arraigned April 14 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Lenora Gerald on charges of robbery and assault, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

If convicted, the defendant could face up to 25 years in prison, the DA said.

“The defendant is accused of cowardly attacking an elderly and defenseless man,” Brown said.

On April 5, Fernandez is alleged to have followed Mayer Behmoiras, 81, into his apartment building on 47th Street in Astoria around 11:10 p.m., the DA said.

The defendant rode the elevator up to the fifth floor with the 81-year-old man. Behmoiras’ wife heard a key being turned in her apartment’s door, but the sound was then followed by a loud thud, the DA said.

“The defendant allegedly pounced, knocking his victim to the ground, stealing his keys and leaving his wife to find him laying injured outside their apartment door,” Brown said.

Behmoiras was on the floor outside the door in a pool of blood, the DA said. His wife rushed to him to a Queens hospital, where he was treated for a skull fracture that required multiple staples to close.

He has suffered extensive memory loss and remains hospitalized.

Upon his arrest, Fernandez allegedly admitted to officers from Astoria’s 114th Precinct that he took the victim’s keys while pushing him down, the DA said. He also allegedly told police he stole the elderly man’s 2001 Hyundai Elantra, which he attempted to sell, according to Brown.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) joined Behmoiras’ son, wife and community members in front of the victim’s apartment building April 14 to condemn the attack.

“We cannot tolerate crime to follow us into our lobbies and our homes, and criminals to prey on our seniors,” said Van Bramer, a family friend of Behmoira’s for more than 30 years. “We must make sure that this never happens again, not in our city, not to seniors, not to anyone.”

Behmoiras, who had been out playing bingo prior to the attack, can barely walk following the attack and now believes the year is 1947, Quinn said. He is currently in the brain injury rehabilitation center at Manhattan’s Mt. Sinai Hospital.

“I hope that anyone who assaults a senior citizen rots in jail,” Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said. “That animal should never see the light of day again.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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