By Tom Nicholson
They were among five defendants who pleaded guilty to kidnapping, robbing and repeatedly raping the women for hours in a shanty near the Tennis Center after she and her boyfriend were beaten by the homeless Hispanic men around 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2002.
State Supreme Court Judge Randall Eng sentenced Luis Carmona, 22, and Armando Juvenal, 21, each to 22 years in prison. Carlos Rodriguez, 23, was given an additional year in jail because he was convicted of sodomizing the woman. The sentences will be served concurrently.
The three defendants entered the courtroom separately to face the judge, each with hands cuffed behind his back and in street clothes. Juvenal stared silently at the floor as his sentence was read. Carmona and Rodriguez stared blankly ahead.
The judge told the Kew Gardens courtroom that the rape and kidnapping carried out by the men was the “extreme limit of humiliation and brutality.”
“This crime shocked the conscience of the community,” Eng said. “It's one of the most horrendous crimes I've seen.”
Earlier this month, Victor Cruz, 23, also homeless with no permanent address, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his role in the attack. The fifth defendant, Jose Hernandez, 29, was scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 24.
The victim's 39-year-old boyfriend described the crime and the effects it has had on him in a letter read in court before the sentencing.
“There are nights that I cannot sleep, there are days in which the memory of the attack invades my memory,” he said in the letter. “My life is no longer my own. I feel hate because in that moment I felt impotent. I hope they rot in jail.”
Earlier this month, before Cruz's sentence was handed down by the judge, a letter from the rape victim was read before the court in which she said “after this incident, my life can never be the same again. I am afraid to go out. I have nightmares.”
Neither of the victim's names was made public.
According to the DA, the victims were walking in a deserted area between Long Island Railroad Shea Stadium station and the Metropolitan Transit Authority No. 7 train station when the defendants surrounded and began attacking them.
After beating the victim's boyfriend and leaving him injured on the ground, the five men took the woman to a nearby shack where Rodriguez was temporarily living and raped her repeatedly, Brown said. The men also took money from both victims, he said.
As the men were taking turns raping the woman, the victim's boyfriend ran from the park and telephoned 911 to summon police, authorities said. With assistance from a police dog, police located the woman and stopped the attack. The five men were arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to the crimes.
The victim's 39-year old boyfriend described the crime and the effects it has had on him in a letter read in court before the sentencing.
“There are nights that I cannot sleep, there are days in which the memory of the attack invades my memory,” the man said in the letter. “My life is no longer my own. I feel hate because in that moment I felt impotent. I hope they rot in jail.”
Before the sentencing, Appelbaum argued for a stiffer sentence for Cormoza, who he said had a venereal disease when he raped the victim.
“This make it all the more horrific and horrendous,” Eng said, but the judge did not add years to Cormoza's sentence due to his venereal disease after attorney Michael Hartofolis explained the defendant did not know he had a disease until after he was arrested.
Hartolis said there was no evidence the victim had been infected with the unnamed disease.
Reach reporter Tom Nicholson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.