A New York City man was convicted of hate crimes Tuesday in connection with a series of muggings that included an assault on a centenarian on her way to church.
A jury deliberated less than a day before convicting Jack Rhodes of victimizing three women, including Rose Morat, who is now 103.
Rhodes, 47, could face up to up to 90 years in prison when he is sentenced on robbery, burglary and assault charges.
Authorities argued Rhodes targeted two of the women because of their age, a violation of the New York State Hate Crimes Act of 2000, which provides for harsher sentences.
101 when attacked
Morat was 101 when she was attacked in March 4, 2007. A surveillance camera recorded the assault. The grainy images show Morat, who was using a walker, trying to leave her apartment building when a man attacked her and hit her in the face.
Morat fell to the ground and suffered a fractured cheekbone and bruises. Her assailant got away with $33 and her house keys. A call to Morat's home rang unanswered Tuesday.
The footage caused public outrage, and dozens of detectives were assigned to the case. Uniformed police throughout the city also viewed the tape, and Rhodes, 47, was arrested around two months later.
Rhodes also was convicted of attacking 85-year-old Solange Elizee about a half hour after he attacked Morat.
Punched while using walker
Elizee, who also uses a walker, was getting into the elevator in her building when she noticed Rhodes already there. When she tried to get out on her floor, Rhodes blocked her, punched her and stole her pocketbook, which contained about $32. He fled on a bicycle.
"The defendant's propensity to savagely accost elderly and defenseless women, two of whom need the aide of a walker to get around, was rightly condemned by today's guilty verdict," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Angela Khan, 51, the first victim, was attacked on Dec. 30, 2006 as she returned home through her basement garage. Rhodes attacked her and stole her money. She suffered a fractured nose, and black eyes.
Defense attorney Paul Montgomery questioned eyewitness accounts and suggested that police and prosecutors were trying to frame Rhodes.