Box Cutter Rapist Convicted on All Counts
Thanks to DNA evidence, Andres Suarez, 30, of the Bronx, was recently convicted on all charges for raping and assaulting a woman in her Soho apartment in 2008. During the trial in the New York Supreme Court, the jury found Suarez guilty on all the counts, including predatory sexual assault, rape in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, attempted rape in the first degree and sexual abuse in the first degree.
As proven at trial, in the early morning of May 28, 2008, Suarez followed a 19-year-old woman from the 14th Street subway station to the Spring Street station. Upon exiting the train, Suarez followed the victim, and as she entered her building, he rushed in and followed her to her apartment. Suarez forced her into the courtyard and raped her at knifepoint.
DNA evidence was collected at the scene and was entered into the New York State DNA Database. There were no matches at the time, and the crime went unsolved until Suarez’s information was entered into the system in 2011 after he was convicted for an unrelated crime.
“Using DNA evidence, the skilled prosecutors in our office’s Sex Crimes Unit were able to ensure that this defendant was held responsible for this terrible crime,” District Attorney Vance said.
Suarez is expected to be sentenced Dec. 12.
Former East Village Officer Sentenced to Over 15 Years
Earlier this year, former New York City Police Officer Nicholas Mina, who served in the East Village’s 9th Precinct, pleaded guilty to numerous charges of stealing police-issued firearms and selling them on the underground market. Last week, the Queens resident, 32, was sentenced to 15 and a half years in prison for his crimes.
He was convicted of charges including the criminal sale of firearms, sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy and grand larceny.
After serving on the police force for more than three years, Mina confessed to stealing and selling police-issued guns on the black market for over six months to fund his addiction to prescription drugs.
“The defendant took an oath to protect New Yorkers from criminals. Instead, he worked alongside a gun trafficker in order to feed his drug addiction,” District Attorney Vance said in a statement.
Vance applauded the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Firearms Investigation Unit for its work with the case investigating missing firearms from the 9th Precinct station house and monitoring Mina’s illegal sales of the stolen guns.
AIDS Activists Climb Flagpoles At City Hall Park
Two members of Housing Works, a New York-based advocacy group that supports health-care issues and HIV/AIDS patients, climbed two 40-foot flagpoles at the southern end of City Hall Park in lower Manhattan on Wednesday, Nov. 28, around 10:45 a.m. The activists, wearing helmets and climbing gear, unfurled a 30-foot banner that read “Housing Is Healthcare: House People Living With HIV/AIDS” after quickly climbing to the top of the flagpoles without being noticed by several police officers in the vicinity.
Police arrived soon after, blocking the sidewalk and the area immediately under the flagpoles and calling in a cherry picker to bring down the activists. Other Housing Works activists held signs and cheered on Tony Ray and the other unidentified flagpole climber from the ground.
“I am up here today because of the lack of attention to housing for people with AIDS,” Ray said through a megaphone high above the crowd. “If people with AIDS have a safe place to live and a place for them to refrigerate their meds, they are going to stay healthy.”
The two activists stayed on the flagpoles for around 25 minutes before they were removed peaceably by the NYPD and arrested without incident.
The civil disobedience came shortly before World AIDS Day, a global day to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is observed each year on Dec. 1.
Compiled by Aaron Adler and John Friia
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