Jack Rhodes, the man suspected of robbing and beating elderly woman in Queens, was indicted yesterday on 35 charges of burglary, assault, robbery, and, yes, hate crimes.
The NY State Hate Crimes Act has a provision that allows hate crime charges to be filed if the defendant has selected a victim because they are old. Queens DA Richard Brown said, “In just over nine weeks, the defendant is alleged to have beaten and robbed three women – one of whom was 101 years of age. Remarkably, the injuries sustained by all three victims were not more serious. The savagery and violence of the attacks have no place in a civilized society. The charges will be vigorously prosecuted.” Hate crimes carry much tougher penalties.
The mugging of 101-year-old Rose Morat in her apartment vestibule was caught on tape and outraged the city, and it turned out that the same person was suspected of mugging an 85-year-old shortly after. The two women were suffered injuries, and the robber got away with $65 and two rings. The NYPD formed a dragnet to find the crook and New Yorkers flooded the police's tip lines with colorful suggestions on how to punish the attacker.
You can read the indictment here (PDF). Interestingly, what constitutes a hate crime is being debated in a Brooklyn murder trial; defense lawyers say that three men who lured a man via a gay chat room did not choose their target because he was gay but instead because he was an easy target. At any rate, prison officials are trying to keep Rhodes safe in a private cell, because many prisoners want to "take a pop at him."