By Alexander Dworkowitz and Courtney Dentch
After a day of deliberation, a Queens jury found a Rosedale man guilty of robbing and sodmomizing a cab driver at gunpoint on Easter 2002.
Rmell Rogers, 21, was convicted of all charges, including robbery, sodomy, sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment when the jury announced their verdict Tuesday afternoon.
The decision came six days after the victim had testified against her attacker in the Kew Gardens courtroom of State Supreme Court Judge Randall Eng.
“I wanted to die,” the 43-year-old Bronx woman said as she wept. “I was in pain. I was ashamed. I felt horrible.”
The woman picked up Rogers and his male friend the week before the attack, and Rogers asked the woman on a date, she said. She declined, saying she had a son his age, which may have embarrassed Rogers in front of his friend, she said.
In her testimony, the victim recalled the rainy Easter night last year, when Rogers called her cell phone asking to be picked up on a Rosedale street at about 10 p.m.
Rogers first told her to drive to a Newark address but later directed her to a Rosedale street she did not know, the woman said. When they arrived, they came to a dead end.
Rogers told her to shut the car and turn off the lights, the woman said.
“I was sitting there, and I felt something against my cheek,” she said, as she put her fingers to her head. “I grabbed it, I turned around, and I said, 'What are you doing?'”
What she felt turned out to be a gun.
“I knew he was going to rob me, rape me and probably kill me,” she said as she cried.
The woman described how Rogers forced her to remove her clothes and sodomized her.
“I'm trying not to remember,” she said as she recounted the painstaking details of the attack.
Rogers then flipped on the radio and asked the woman where her money was, she said. He went through her purse and various compartments in the van, taking money and her non-driver's identification, which contained her address, she said.
“If I reported the incident, he could find me, he would kill me,” the woman said Rogers told her.
Rogers turned on the car and drove off, with the woman still naked in the back seat. He demanded she stay crouched down so no one would spot her, she said.
Rogers told her, “If anyone saw me, not only would he kill me, he would kill that person,” she said.
Rogers continued to drive her around south Queens, making several phone calls on a cell phone and eventually allowing her to dress, she said.
The woman described Rogers as “very happy.”
“He was blasting that radio and speeding. … I got so scared he was going to crash the van.”
Rogers pulled up by a movie theater in Cross Bay, she said. He told her he was going out to make a phone call, but never returned, she said.
When the woman realized Rogers was not coming back, she grabbed her extra set of keys and drove to her company's address, where her colleagues called the police, she said.
Rogers was arrested three days later after police traced the calls he made on her cell phone.
In court, Rogers admitted to the attack. But he said a group of men to whom he owed a $700 gambling debt demanded he rob her. When the men found out she had little money, they told him to rape her, threatening to kill both of them if he did not comply, he said.
Rogers said he communicated with the men that night through the ear piece of his cellular phone.
The woman, however, said she had a clear view of his ears and saw no such device.
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.