Third victim IDs suspect in muggings of elderly

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A 53−year−old Jamaica woman who was allegedly beaten and robbed by the same man accused of assaulting two elderly women took the stand Tuesday afternoon in Queens Supreme Court and identified Jack Rhodes, 44, as the person who broke into her home, punched and kicked her and stole cash, a credit card and her driver’s license.

“He’s the guy who beat me up,” Angela Khan told jurors in Judge Gregory Lasak’s courtroom.

Rhodes, whose last known address was 34−25 Vernons Blvd. in Long Island City, is charged with 35 counts of burglary, assault and robbery as hate crimes. If convicted, Rhodes could face between 39 and 90 years in prison.

According to the Queens district attorney, Rhodes allegedly confronted Khan on Dec. 30, 2006, outside her house and followed her inside, where he is accused of beating her to the point that Khan suffered a fractured nose and two black eyes and needed six stitches for cuts to her face.

“It was a big relief to testify,” Khan said following her testimony. “I finally got to say what I wanted to say. It was a big load off my shoulders.”

Khan said the incident has made it nearly impossible for her to feel comfortable alone.

“I can’t go to the basement by myself,” she said. “My husband does my laundry because I’m scared to be alone.”

Witnesses were scheduled to testify over the next several days during the trial for Rhodes. Jury selection for the trial concluded last week.

Rhodes is accused of violently robbing 102−year−old Rose Morat in her apartment building on Highland Avenue in Jamaica Estates and 87−year−old Solange Elizee in her 170th Avenue apartment building in Jamaica.

According to police, Rhodes robbed and beat the two women within hours of each other on March 4, 2007.

Police said Rhodes attacked Morat and made off with her purse, which had in it $33. Morat, who used a walker, suffered a broken cheekbone.

Rhodes punched Elizee in the face and stole $45 and jewelry, police said.

Queens elected officials expressed outrage after the attacks, which sparked a state bill sponsored by Sens. Serphin Maltese (R−Glendale) and Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) that would give a seven−year prison sentence to those convicted of attacking seniors 60 years and over.

The bill never made it to the floor of the Assembly.

Updated 6:39 pm, October 10, 2011
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