By Courtney Dentch
DNA evidence helped convict a Brooklyn man charged with raping and robbing two Jamaica women in separate attacks in 1997, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Roderick Lesane, 38, of Bay Ridge, was found guilty last week in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens of sexually assaulting a 35-year-old registered nurse in the elevator of her apartment building and returning to the area five days later to attack a 24-year-old woman, Brown said.
Lesane, who served nine years in a state prison for robbery shortly before he attacked the women, was convicted April 14 by a jury on charges of rape, sodomy and robbery following a 2 1/2 week trial, Brown said.
The jury, made up of five men and seven women, deliberated for four days before returning a guilty verdict to Justice Robert McDonald.
Lesane, who faces life in prison as a repeat felony offender, was scheduled to be sentenced May 27.
“The defendant was found by the jury to have preyed upon women who were alone and to have robbed and sexually attacked them,” Brown said. “Now he will be punished for his crimes and separated from society, hopefully for the rest of his life.”
The attacks took place in December 1997, but it was not until May 2001 that Lesane was arrested, when his DNA profile was found to match evidence that was discovered at the scene from one of the attacks, Brown said.
“The defendant may have thought he was going to evade detection, but he was mistaken because DNA is indelible and irrefutable forensic evidence,” Brown said.
The first attack took place Dec. 9, 1997, when Lesane accosted a registered nurse, 35, in the elevator of her building in Jamaica and sodomized and robbed her, according to trial testimony.
Five days later, on Dec. 14, Lesane returned to the neighborhood and assaulted a 24-year-old woman as she came home from church, Brown said. Lesane robbed her, then forced her to go with him to the roof, where he raped and sodomized her, he said.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.