By Matthew Monks
Jason Gubelman, 30, of 64-10 Madison St., Ridgewood faces 10 years in prison for pinning down the seventh-grader and mauling his face and wrists – scarring him for life, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. The mother of Thomas Rank, who is now 14, said he was just a careless youth when he crossed paths with Gubelman on March 14, 2004. “My son was doing graffiti like a lot of kids do,” recalled Irene Rank. “I guess he sprayed it over this guy's work. He was only a little kid. You gonna kill somebody for doing something like that? That's horrible.”Rank took off and ran up a hill when he saw Gubelman and four or five other men, Irene Rank said. But the youth was blocked off by a fence. “Somebody held him down and this man slashed him with the box cutter from his temple all the way down to his neck,” Irene Rank said. “He protected his face with his wrists. He had to get about 50 to 60 stitches in each (one).”Gubelman stole Rank's jacket and money and fled, Brown said. The boy managed to scale the fence and walk a short distance to a friend's house. “He collapsed on their stoop and they found him there,” Irene Rank said. “When we got him to the hospital, his feet were turning yellow. He just missed having to have a transfusion.”Two surgeons worked for hours tending wounds that left permanent scars on the boy's head, face and arms. “They had to do a special stitch called a 'baseball stitch' to sew his head back together,” Rank said. “It was a horrible experience.” Thomas, who is now 14, was traumatized, his mother said. Fearing retribution from his assailants' associates, his mother sent him to a boarding school out of state. Gubelman made the plea in Queens Supreme Court before Judge Joseph A. Grosso. Reach reporter Matt Monks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.