"The defendant's disturbingly, cowardly attacks on elderly and defenseless women - two of who needed the aid of a walker to get around - has rightfully cost him his future," District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Authorities argued that 47-year-old Rhodes targeted two of the women because of their age, a violation of the New York State Hate Crimes Act, which provides for harsher sentences. The jury agreed.
Just prior to sentencing, prosecutors read a victim impact statement into the court record from one of the victims, 103-year-old Rose Morat.
"Leaving my apartment (Rhodes) attacked, injured my face with a severe blow that broke my cheekbone," she wrote. "He continued hitting me several more times and left me in a pool of blood and (I) had to be taken to the hospital. Atrocities done frequently by the man Jack Rhodes must be stopped ... so that this will never happen again to other good people and life once again can be enjoyed without fear."
A half-hour after he robbed and beat Morat, Rhodes attacked 85-year-old Solange Elizee, who also uses a walker. As she exited the elevator of her building alone on her floor and entered her apartment, Rhodes blocked the door from closing and forced his way inside. Once inside, he repeatedly punched Elizee in the face and robbed her.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak sentenced Rhodes to the 75 year prison term, telling him "That comes out to about a year for every dollar you took from those people." Rhodes netted just $78 and two rings in the three muggings.