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Stabber of gritty grandma gets 14 years in prison

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A Flushing man who viciously attacked an elderly grandmother as he burglarized her Springfield Gardens home will spend the next 14 years in prison, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said last week.

Andre Mathis, 34, of 67-41 Kissena Blvd., was sentenced last Thursday for attempted murder, burglary, robbery and assault charges after he admitted to breaking into 88-year-old Vivian Squires’ home in January 2009.

“The defendant broke into the home of a vibrant senior citizen as she slept in her own bed in order to steal whatever he could find,” Brown said. “When the victim was awakened by a noise, the coward stabbed her repeatedly. She now has trouble speaking and walking and, she said in a statement read in court today by the prosecutor in her case, she constantly relives that day. Hopefully, today’s sentence will provide a measure of justice for this victim and give her some peace of mind.”

Mathis, who had done yard work for his victim, admitted in court last month that he slashed Squires’ neck and hands and stabbed her in the back before stealing cash and her car, the DA said.

Squires was rushed to Mary Immaculate Hospital, where she went on to make a full recovery from her injuries, which required more than 60 stitches.

The elderly woman had to be sewed up with hundreds of stitches after Mathis slashed her torso, back, neck and hands, the DA said. Squires said the effects from the attack continues to plague her and she now has to use a walker to get around.

“I just kept saying, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus’ and pretty soon I felt the strength draining from him and he dropped the pillow and ran,” Squires said in describing the attack in a previous interview with TimesLedger Newspapers.

Squires said she was happy to receive “some kind of closure” from Mathis going to jail.

“My whole life got turned upside-down because of this,” Squires said.

The attack inspired Squires to set up an initiative called “Pull Your Pants Up” that will provide adult mentors for troubled youth, although she said she has not been able to focus on it because of health troubles.

“It’s hard,” she said. “I’m just trying to get better.”

Squires said she was grateful for all the help she has gotten from family and friends from church following the home invasion and now lives with a friend who is her tenant. She is trying hard to move on, but Squires said she has felt defeated lately because of her problems with walking.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 5:48 pm, October 10, 2011
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