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DNA helps convict St. Albans burglar

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A St. Albans burglar who beat and sexually assaulted two women in their homes, including a police officer, was convicted last week with the help of strong DNA evidence, the Queens district attorney said.

Kenneth Washington, 31, of 118-19 193rd St., was found guilty Nov. 16 of several charges, including burglary, assault and sexual abuse following a three-week trial, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

Washington broke into two homes in 2006 and one residence in 2007, and during two of the incidents sent the female tenants to the hospital after viciously assaulting them, according to the DA.

“While burglary is a serious crime in and of itself, the defendant displayed extremely dangerous and outrageous behavior on two of the three occasions by breaking into occupied homes and engaging in barbaric conduct with the lone females he found there,” he said in a statement.

On Aug. 16, 2006, Washington first burglarized the Queens home of Detective Cassandra Whitaker, who was asleep in her bed and awakened by him as he was going through her dresser, Brown said. As the officer reached for her service weapon to defend herself, Washington engaged in a struggle with her and took the gun, according to Brown.

After beating her several times in the head with the weapon, Washington took it, her police shield, jewelry and other items before fleeing the scene, the DA said. A severely injured Whitaker was able to call 911 and was rushed to a hospital where they treated her injuries, according to the DA.

In addition to 30 staples needed to close her head wounds, the officer has suffered long-term effects, including constant headaches, the DA said.

Investigators were able to find an abandoned bloody shirt blocks from Whitaker’s residence that contained her DNA as well as Washington’s DNA, according to Brown.

Less than four months after that incident, Washington broke into Luisa Gonzalez’s Bellerose home while she was away at work and stole jewelry, video games and other property, according to the DA. A pair of gloves found at the scene by police contained the suspect’s DNA, Brown said.

On July 15, 2007, Washington broke into the St. Albans home of a 26-year-old woman who was six months pregnant, the DA said. He sexually and physically assaulted her before robbing her of her property, according to Brown.

The victim was able to hide out in her bathroom and escaped through the window to her neighbor’s residence for help, according to the DA. She was admitted to a hospital for one week to check on the condition of her unborn baby, Brown said.

Investigators were able to match Washington’s DNA to specimens found in an iced tea container that he drank from and left at the scene, according to the DA.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak has scheduled a sentencing date for Dec. 15, where Washington faces up to 50 years in prison, Brown said.

“His actions clearly show that he is a threat to society and deserving of a maximum prison sentence,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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